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Virologica Sinica, 33 (5) : 410, 2018
Research Article
Countrywide Survey for MERS-Coronavirus Antibodies in Dromedaries and Humans in Pakistan
1 CAS Key Laboratory of Special Pathogens and Biosafety, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430071, China
2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3 Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad 38040, Pakistan
4 Laboratory of Cancer Biomarkers and Liquid Biopsy, College of Pharmacy, Henan University, Henan 475004, China
5 Department of Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, PMAS-Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi 46000, Pakistan
6 Dow University of Health Science, Karachi 74200, Pakistan
7 Department of Microbiology, Government College University Faisalabad, Faisalabad 38000, Pakistan
8 Livestock and Dairy Development Department (L&DD), Lahore 54000, Pakistan
9 College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Bahawalpur 63100, Pakistan
10 State Key Laboratory of Agricultural Microbiology, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China
11 Liaqat University of Medical and Health Science, Jamshoro 76090, Pakistan
12 Section of Epidemiology and Public Health, Department of Clinical Sciences, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore subcampus, Jhang 35200, Pakistan
13 Institute of Virology, Charite-Universitatsmedizin Berlin, Corporate member of Free University, Humboldt-University and Berlin Institute of Health, Berlin 10117, Germany
14 German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), Berlin 10117, Germany
 Correspondence: zlshi@wh.iov.cn
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a zoonotic pathogen capable of causing severe respiratory disease in humans. Although dromedary camels are considered as a major reservoir host, the MERS-CoV infection dynamics in camels are not fully understood. Through surveillance in Pakistan, nasal (n=776) and serum (n=1050) samples were collected from camels between November 2015 and February 2018. Samples were collected from animal markets, free-roaming herds and abattoirs. An in-house ELISA was developed to detect IgG against MERS-CoV. A total of 794 camels were found seropositive for MERS-CoV. Prevalence increased with the age and the highest seroprevalence was recorded in camels aged > 10 years (81.37%) followed by those aged 3.1-10 years (78.65%) and ≤ 3 years (58.19%). Higher prevalence was observed in female (78.13%) as compared to male (70.70%). Of the camel nasal swabs, 22 were found to be positive by RT-qPCR though with high Ct values. Moreover, 2,409 human serum samples were also collected from four provinces of Pakistan during 2016-2017. Among the sampled population, 840 humans were camel herders. Although we found a high rate of MERS-CoV antibody positive dromedaries (75.62%) in Pakistan, no neutralizing antibodies were detected in humans with and without contact to camels.
Received: 26 Jul 2018  Accepted: 3 Sep 2018  Published online: 11 Oct 2018
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