An editorial in The Lancet has highlighted evidence that the MERS virus is a bioweapon being introduced into the population from an external source in the same way as the Ebola virus has repeatedly being introduced into the population of West Africa.
“The epidemic curve of MERS follows a cycle of sharp peaks and troughs, which suggests repeated introduction of the causative virus into the human population from an external source followed by localised outbreaks. Indeed, dromedary camels—a common domestic animal in the Middle East—are undoubtedly the source of human MERS coronavirus infection. However, the virus seems to have been circulating in camels for decades, and people exposed to camels can be seropositive without symptoms, so why no human cases were detected before 2012 is unknown. Also, the specific route of—and risk-factors for—transmission from camels to people is not clearly understood. Development of a vaccine against MERS is still at the stage of animal experimentation, and there is no effective drug treatment for the disease,” writes The Lancet.
Australian Infectious diseases epidemiologist Professor Raina MacIntyre from The School of Public Health And Community Medicine at UNSW, analysed the epidemiologic features of MERS-Cov compared to SARS and the way MERS spread and found the data for MERS best fitted the pattern of bioterrorism.