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MERS Coronavirus Antibodies in Bactrian and Hybrid Camels from Dubai

Previous published serological studies showed that sera of Bactrian camels were all negative for MERS-CoV antibodies, suggesting that Bactrian camels may not be a reservoir of MERS-CoV. However, a recent study revealed direct inoculation of Bactrian camels intranasally with MERS-CoV can lead to infection with abundant virus shedding and seroconversion.

In this paper, researchers tested the hypothesis that Bactrian camels, and even the hybrid camels, that reside in countries where there are dromedaries can be infected with MERS-CoV by examined the presence of MERS-CoV antibodies in Bactrian and hybrid camels in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (where dromedaries are also present), and Bactrian camels in Xinjiang, China (where dromedaries are absent), using a MERS-CoV spike (S) protein-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and neutralization antibody test.

In this study, our results indicated that Bactrian and hybrid camels are also potential sources of MERS-CoV infection. Therefore, Bactrian and hybrid camels, in addition to the dromedaries, should be immunized in order to reduce the chance of transmitting the virus to humans.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Antibodies in Bactrian and Hybrid Camels from Dubai. mSphere. Published 22 January 2020.

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