Saudi Sets Up Expert Panel To Contain MERS Virus
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Saudi Sets Up Expert Panel To Contain MERS Virus

Saudi Sets Up Expert Panel To Contain MERS Virus

Saudi Arabia has appointed 10 disease specialists to investigate the spread of the MERS virus and advise the government on future steps.


Saudi Arabia has set up a new health advisory board to limit the spread of MERS coronavirus in the country, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The board will consist of ten infectious disease specialists who have been selected based on their experiences in dealing with public health safety issues, the Kingdom’s health minister Adel Fakih said.

Tariq Ahmed Madani, who was appointed special advisor to the ministry last week, will head the board.

The board’s responsibilities will include investigating the virus, writing and delivering reports on relative findings, advising the government on the virus status and overseeing infected cases.

Fakih said that the ministry will continue its efforts to fight the virus and limit its spread in the Kingdom and elsewhere.

Saudi Arabia has been the worst hit by the virus with 339 confirmed cases to date and a death toll of 102.

The Kingdom also saw a 73 per cent jump in MERS cases since the start of April with 143 confirmed by authorities.

The majority of infections have been reported in Jeddah and Riyadh with the first recorded in Mecca recently.

The government has also designated three hospitals in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam for specialist treatment for MERS infections. The three hospitals have a capacity to accommodate around 146 patients in intensive care, local press reported.

The recent spike in the number of cases has sparked public concerns of an epidemic despite the reassurances of health authorities. The Saudi government also said last week that it is in talks with a number of pharmaceutical firms to develop a MERS vaccine.

The virus, which is believed to originate from camels, does not have a cure and is estimated to kill one third of those infected.

Authorities have said that the disease does not transmit easily among humans and might die out eventually.


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