Year in Review: A double dose of virus scares | Science News


Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.


Year in Review: A double dose of virus scares

MERS, H7N9 join list of potential pandemics

4:51pm, December 21, 2013

ACTIVE VIRUS  A transmission electron micrograph shows the coronavirus responsible for Middle East respiratory syndrome in action.


Outbreaks of two deadly viruses captured the world’s attention in 2013, but neither turned into the global pandemic expected to strike one of these years.

One of the viruses, known as MERS, causes Middle East respiratory syndrome. The other, H7N9, is a new bird flu virus from China. Each virus has infected fewer than 200 people, but both kill a sizable number of the people who contract them. Although the viruses have not spread far from where they started, the scientific effort to decipher and combat them has had global reach.

The MERS virus was first isolated from a patient in Saudi Arabia by an Egyptian physician who sent the sample to the Netherlands to be tested. There researchers in the lab of Ron Fouchier (who made headlines in 2012 for work on the bird flu virus H5N1

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More on 2013 SN Top 25

From the Nature Index Paid Content