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Qatari Man Who Traveled To Saudi Arabia Infected With Novel Corona-Virus

A Qatari male, with travel history to Saudi Arabia, has been admitted to a British hospital with a case of acute respiratory syndrome with renal failure.

The case was reported to WHO by the British government on Saturday.

The healthy, 49-year-old man was admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) in the Qatari capital Doha on September 7. On September 11, he was transferred to Britain by air ambulance from Qatar. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) of the UK conducted laboratory testing and has confirmed the presence of a novel corona-virus, WHO said in a press release.

The HPA has compared the sequencing of the virus isolate from the Qatari national with that of a virus sequenced previously by the Erasmus University Medical Center, Netherlands. This was obtained from lung tissue of a fatal case earlier this year in a 60-year-old Saudi national. This comparison indicated 99.5 percent identity, with one nucleotide mismatch over the regions compared.

Corona-viruses are a large family of viruses which includes viruses that cause the common cold and SARS. Given that this is a novel corona-virus, WHO is currently in the process of obtaining further information to determine the public health implications of these two confirmed cases.

However, WHO has made it clear that it does not recommend any travel restrictions to Saudi Arabia with respect to these findings.

by RTT Staff Writer

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