Shoura to get MERS update from Adel Fakeih

Acting Health Minister Adel Fakeih

Acting Health Minister Adel Fakeih

Acting Health Minister Adel Fakeih will explain to the Shoura Council the emergency measures taken by his ministry to rein in the spread of the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

Fakeih will meet the Health and Environment Committee and members of the Shoura Council on Wednesday, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The minister will also listen to suggestions made by council members on ways to eradicate the killer infection from the Kingdom.

Muhammad Al-Mahna, Shoura Council spokesman, said Fakeih’s planned visit to the council is part of the ministry’s efforts to combat the coronavirus, which requires support and cooperation from government departments.

Al-Mahna also assured the Health Ministry of the council’s full cooperation in its struggle against the disease, which has killed 187 people in the Kingdom.

An international team of scientists recently said they have identified a compound that can fight the virus.

The team, led by Edward Trybala from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and Volker Thiel from the University of Bern, has discovered a compound called K22, which appears to block the ability of the virus to spread in humans.

They first noticed that K22 was able to combat a weak form of the coronavirus that causes mild cold-like symptoms and went on to show that it can fight more serious strains, including SARS and MERS.

In an article for specialist journal “PLOS Pathogens,” the scientists explained that the virus reproduces in the cells that line the human respiratory system.

The virus takes over the membranes that separate different parts of human cells, reshaping them into a sort of armor around itself in order to start its production cycle.

The K22 compound acts at an early stage in this process, preventing the virus from taking control of the cell membranes.

“The results confirm that the use of the membrane of the host cell is a crucial step in the life-cycle of the virus,” the researchers wrote.

Their work shows that “the process is highly sensitive and can be influenced by anti-viral medications.”

“The recent SARS epidemic and MERS outbreak mean there should be urgent investment in testing K22 outside the laboratory and developing medicine.”

Earlier this month, experts from the World Health Organization gathered in Geneva and confirmed that MERS was spreading but had yet to be declared a global emergency.





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