GENEVA, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- As for the recent study that suggests Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) or a virus very similar to it has been recently circulating among camels, World Health Organization (WHO) Friday said that the results do not provide any insights into how humans become infected.
Tarik Jasarevic, spokesman of WHO, told a press conference that WHO welcomes any study that brings more information about the virus, and this study did provide a clue and a direction for further investigation, but critical questions remained to be answered, namely the source of the virus and the type of human exposures that result in infection.
Jasarevic said that the study found antibodies reacting to the new virus in camels, which mean that the camels have been infected at some point of time and produced antibodies, but to make sure it was the same virus as it was in humans, it's needed to find the virus itself rather than antibodies.
He noted that the results did not shed light on how humans get infected, and most human cases did not have a history of direct contact with camels, adding that it was premature to rule out the possibility that other animals might serve as a reservoir or an intermediary host for MERS-CoV.
According to the latest update of WHO on the deadly virus, globally from September 2012 to date, WHO has been informed of a total of 94 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including 46 deaths.
Based on the current situation and available information, WHO encourages all Member States to continue their surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and to carefully review any unusual patterns.
WHO has convened an Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (IHR) to advise the Director-General on the status of the current situation.
The Emergency Committee, which comprises international experts from all WHO Regions, unanimously advised that, with the information now available, and using a risk-assessment approach, the conditions for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) have not at present been met.