Saudi Arabia Successfully Confronted Both Coronaviruses

MERS-CoV cases reported in Saudi Arabia during 2020
map of saudi arabia

Unlike some of its regional allies, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia took the deadly SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus outbreak seriously, right from the outset.

And the recent outbreak data indicates very positive results.

As of March 28, 2020, data sources indicate the Kingdom has confirmed 1,104 coronavirus cases and just 3 fatalities related to COVID-19 disease.

Before the Kingdom had even recorded a single case of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, it banned foreign worshippers from performing pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca.

This action no doubt halted the advance of the deadly disease, reported Euronews.

Furthermore, the everyday reality for Saudis under the pandemic could not be more different from the citizens of western superpowers.

Saudi Arabia’s version of the “lockdown” has protected its citizens from this type of coronavirus.

The Kingdom acted quickly to close markets, shopping malls, beauty salons and gatherings in public places, following its suspension of schools in previous weeks.

These decisive actions were based on fact-based experiences with another type of coronavirus.

For several years, Saudia Arabia has been confronting a different type of coronavirus, MERS-CoV. 

So far this year, 9 of 13 regions of Saudi Arabia reported MERS-CoV cases and of these, Eastern Province, Hail, Makkah, Najran, and Riyadh have reported the most cases.

From January 2020 to March 2, 2020, 35 MERS-CoV cases have been reported in Saudi Arabia.

Humans are infected with MERS-CoV from direct or indirect contact with dromedaries (camels). 

Therefore, people should avoid close contact with animals, particularly dromedaries, when visiting farms, markets, or barn areas where the virus is known to be potentially circulating.

Additionally, MERS-CoV has demonstrated the ability to transmit between humans. People should avoid drinking raw camel milk or eating meat that has not been properly cooked.

Most people infected with MERS-CoV develop severe respiratory illness, including fever, cough, shortness of breath, and it can be fatal, says the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

MERS-CoV appears to cause more severe disease in people with diabetes, renal failure, chronic lung disease, and immunocompromised persons.

Moreover, the median time from onset to death is approximately 12 days, says the CDC.

Regarding a MERS therapy, a study published on January 10, 2020, found that remdesivir and interferon had superior antiviral activity when compared to lopinavir and ritonavir. 

In transgenic mice, both prophylactic and therapeutic doses of remdesivir improved lung function and reduced lung viral loads and severe pathology. 

And from a prevention perspective, there are a few early-stage MERS-CoV vaccine candidates, such as the following:

  • ChAdOx1 MERS-CoV is a vaccine candidate that consists of the replication-deficient simian adenovirus vector ChAdOx1, containing the MERS Spike protein antigen.
  • INO-4700 MERS-CoV is a DNA plasmid vaccine that expresses the MERS CoV spike (S) glycoprotein.
  • MVA MERS (Modified Vaccinia virus Ankara) is a vaccine candidate that contains the full-length spike gene of MERS-CoV.

Previously, on October 3, 2019, the CDC said to ensure you are up-to-date on several Routine Vaccinations before visiting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Additionally, the CDC suggests Hepatitis A and Typhoid travel vaccinations when visiting Saudia Arabia.

And, if you are traveling from a country with risk of the Yellow Fever virus transmission, proof of a Yellow Fever vaccination may be required.

The Yellow fever vaccine, Stamaril, has limited availability in the United States.

These vaccines and related medications can be found at most travel vaccination pharmacies in the USA. 

SARS-CoV-2 outbreak news is published by Coronavirus Today.

Saudi Arabia travel news published by Vax-Before-Travel.