By Staff writer
Qatar ministry official says research ongoing by WHO, pharmaceutical firms
A vaccine against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) is expected to be developed in 2017, according to a senior official from Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health.
Dr Mohamed Mohamed Al Hajri, director of the ministry’s emergency preparedness and response department, was quoted as telling Gulf Times: “Several leading pharmaceutical companies are working in this regard under the guidance of the World Health Organization (WHO).”
Al Hajri said his department had held meetings with WHO and a number of pharmaceutical companies and been informed research is ongoing to develop a vaccine and treatment to fight the disease.
“Good progress” has been made in both areas, he added.
Mers is a viral respiratory disease that was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012.
Since then, there have been 1,806 reported laboratory-confirmed cases of Mers and 643 deaths, according to the WHO. A total of 27 countries have reported cases of Mers. The disease is typically spread from animals, such as camels, to humans.
Al Hajri was quoted as saying: “The production of a vaccine will take months or years. If it is not going to be used extensively, it is not worth for a pharmaceutical company."
WHO is playing a major role in assessing the need, demand and how to have a balanced approach in making the vaccines available.”
There will reportedly be an update on progress with the vaccine every six months.