The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a new virus in the group of Coronaviruses called “Betacoronavirus”.
MERS-CoV is distinct from the older well-known SARS and distinct from the common-cold coronavirus.
The previously unknown virus was identified by an Egyptian virologist, Dr. Ali Mohamed Zaki, who isolated and identified a previously unknown coronavirus from one of his patient’s lungs.
The Egyptian professor then posted his findings on September 24, 2012 on ProMED-mail showing the isolated cells subjected to viral damage.
MERS-CoV, like other coronaviruses, is thought to spread from an infected person’s respiratory secretions, such as through coughing. However, the precise ways the virus spreads aren’t currently well understood.
MERS-CoV has spread from ill people to others through close contact, such as caring for or living with an infected person.
Infected people have spread MERS-CoV to others in healthcare settings, such as hospitals. Researchers studying MERS have not seen any ongoing spreading of MERS-CoV in the community.