GENEVA, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- Britain has informed the World Health Organization (WHO) of a case of acute respiratory syndrome with renal failure and laboratory testing confirmed the presence of a novel coronavirus, the WHO said in a bulletin issued late Sunday night.
The case is a previously healthy, 49-year-old male Qatari national that presented with symptoms on Sept. 3 with travel history to Saudi Arabia prior to onset of illness, according to the WHO.
He was admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) in Doha, Qatar on Sept. 7 and transferred to Britain by air ambulance on Sept. 11. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) of Britain conducted laboratory testing and has confirmed the presence of a novel coronavirus, WHO said.
The HPA compared the sequencing of the virus with that of a virus sequenced previously by the Erasmus University Medical Centre in Netherlands. The latter was obtained from lung tissue of a fatal case earlier this year in a 60 year-old Saudi national.
This comparison indicated 99.5 percent identity, with one nucleotide mismatch over the regions compared.
Given that this is a novel coronavirus, WHO is currently in the process of obtaining further information to determine the public health implications of these two confirmed cases.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which includes viruses that cause the common cold and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).