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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

UNC Professor Leads Study of Deadly New Respiratory Coronavirus

A new study led by Dr. Ralph Baric, professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, examines a particularly troublesome bug, dubbed the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). First detected in 2012, MERS-CoV replicates easily in human airway epithelial cells. At the time the study was published, the virus had caused at least 110 cases of illness and 52 deaths – a mortality rate of nearly 50 percent. “MERS-CoV is the second deadly respiratory coronavirus that emerged in the twenty-first century, following the SARS-CoV epidemic in 2003,” Dr. Baric said. “We are still uncertain as to the origins of these viruses and how frequently they transmit between species. In addition, vaccines and therapeutics are needed to protect the health of populations globally.”