News Scan for Nov 13, 2019

New Saudi MERS case
Record dengue in the Americas
Marburg vaccine candidate
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Saudi Arabia reports 9th MERS case of November

In the latest in a small but steady stream of cases, Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) today reported one more MERS-CoV infection, which involves a 75-year-old man from Jeddah.

The man's exposure to the virus is listed as primary, meaning he probably didn't contract MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) from another patient. His contact with camels isn't known. His illness marks the ninth case this month.
Nov 13 MOH report

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization Eastern Mediterranean regional office (WHO EMRO) today posted an overview of 14 MERS-CoV cases reported in October, 3 of them fatal. Thirteen were from Saudi Arabia and one from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The 14 cases for October were up sharply from 4 cases reported in September.

One of the cases involved a healthcare worker who was infected while caring for a patient, but there were no other clusters. Two patients had symptom onsets in September, and the three people who died were in the 70- to 79-year-old age-group.

As of the end of October, the WHO since 2012 has received reports of 2,482 lab-confirmed MERS-CoV cases, at least 854 of them fatal. The vast majority have been in Saudi Arabia.
Nov 13 WHO EMRO situation update


Dengue cases in Americas region hit record high

As of the middle of October, the WHO Americas region has experienced the most dengue cases in its history, topping the number reported in the 2015 epidemic year by 13%, the WHO's Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said in a Nov 11 update.

So far this year, more than 2.7 million cases (44.5% of them lab confirmed) have been reported, along with 1,206 deaths. The proportion of severe dengue infections (0.8%) has exceeded that seen in the previous 4 years.

All four dengue serotypes are present in the region, and cocirculation of all four have been detected this year in Brazil, Guatemala, and Mexico. A combination of three serotypes are circulating in seven nations. Of five countries with the highest incidence, four are in Central America: Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Brazil has the fifth highest incidence.
Nov 11 PAHO dengue update


Department of Defense funds new Marburg virus vaccine candidate

IAIV, the non-profit research organization, announced yesterday it received a $35.7 million award from the US Department of Defense's Defense Threat Reduction Agency to develop a recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) vector Marburg vaccine candidate.

IAIV has previously used VSV technology to develop HIV and Lassa fever vaccine candidates, both in preclinical development. The Marburg vaccine candidate has shown strong protection from the virus in non-human primate studies.

"IAVI looks forward to applying more than a decade of our experience in viral vector vaccines to hasten the development of this viral hemorrhagic fever vaccine candidate," said Mark Feinberg, MD, PhD, president and CEO of IAVI.

The vaccine is based on the same VSV platform as Merck’s Ebola Zaire virus vaccine, which yesterday was given prequalification for licensing by the WHO. Marburg virus, like Ebola, is often deadly and could be used as a bioweapon. Both Marburg and Ebola are filoviruses.
Nov 12 IAIV press release

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