A New Virus for a New Hajj Season
By Hwaa Irfan
Before the month of Hajj September 2012, the coronavirus, commonly associated with colds, SARS broke out in Saudi Arabia, though at the time, it was not known whether it was SARS. WHO raised an alert, and the pandemic mounted to two deaths. Six million hajjis were allowed to complete with their pilgrimage.
This time, another new coronavirus and more fatal Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV, or MERS formerly known as novel coronavirus) has entered Saudi Arabia well in advance of the Hajj season (Umrah will peak during the blessed month of Ramadhan between July 9 and August 7 2013, while Hajj will take place from October 13 -18 insha’Allah). This new coronavirus claimed its first victim in March 2013 in Jordan, is what is commonly reported, but WHO states as a precaution:
“Recent travellers returning from the Middle East who develop SARI should be tested for MERS-CoV as advised in the current surveillance recommendations.”
So a possible link between SARS and MERS-CoV/MERS is up for consideration.
According to WHO:
“Globally, from September 2012 to date, WHO has been informed of a total of 77 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including 40 deaths,” – June 26, 2013.
To date, of the 77 laboratory-confirmed infections, 62 have been in Saudi Arabia, and 34 of those died, i.e. a 55% mortality rate, so it is not as deadly as portrayed by the media. Cases have been reported in Europe: France, Germany, the UK, and Italy. All the European cases have been linked to the Middle East. The Director General of WHO, Dr Chan sounded quite alarmed, but recent history errs on the side of precaution when it comes to WH alerts which sometimes wavers in favor of the pharmaceutical industries like the H1N1 virus before they cultured it into the flu vaccines:
“We understand too little about this virus when viewed against the magnitude of its potential threat. We do not know where the virus hides in nature. We do not know how people are getting infected. Until we answer these question, we are empty-handed when it comes to prevention. These are alarm bells. And we must respond… The novel coronavirus is not a problem that any single affected country can keep to itself or manage all by itself. It is a threat to the entire world.”
The virus was isolated in mid-2012 by a scientist in Saudi Arabia and initially carried the name human coronavirus EMC. On May 15, more than eight months after the virus was isolated, the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses announced the name Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, states Slate.
MERS-CoV spreads through close contact, as ideal virus for 6 million people in close contact, but SARS-CoV is more human-transmissible than MERS-CoV. The risk of human transmission increases under hospitalization. The incubation period so far has been 9 – 12 days. It is asymptomatic, so there are no warning signs that can raise concern. The infection can be acute to chronic, and affect a 5-year old as easily as a 50 year old.
Of the four cases reported in the U.K, there were two fatalities with no further outbreak has been reported since February 2013 at a time when the UK was experiencing a prolonged and extremely cold winter and an upshot and a flu epidemic! Gov.uk states:
“Although some person-to-person transmission has been reported, there remains no evidence of sustained person-to-person transmission”.
In France, the doctors do not know how the 65 year old man contracted the virus.
Dr. Ali Mohamed Zaki, who analyzed the first sample of mucus taken from the first victim of the new SARS virus and his discovery of the genetic code of the virus has revealed that this genetically engineered virus may have its origins in laboratories working with manipulating a version of a bat flu, which is dismissed by WHO. MERS-CoV is similar to the SARS virus that first emerged in Asia in 2003, and is also similar to the coronavirus found in bats. Bats carry many coronaviruses.
The World Health Organisation has urged countries with possible cases of novel coronavirus to share information. The move comes after Saudi Arabia said the development of diagnostic tests had been delayed by patent rights on the NCoV virus by commercial laboratories – already pharmaceutical companies are moving in to make a quick profit on what would be untested vaccines as in the H1N1 scenario.
An investigation conducted by Edward Hammond, consultant researcher of Third World Network, has revealed that The Erasmus Medical Centre, a leading medical centre in The Netherlands is claiming proprietary rights via a material transfer agreement (MTA) over the MERS virus. This would block ongoing research placing our health again in the hands of Big Pharma. Naturally, this has led to criticism from Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Health.
So do we have a pandemic on our hands, that is yet to be seen for many pilgrims life goes on, and the prospect of Jennah/paradise is much more inviting than life on earth given the seemingly endless multiple global crises’ taking place now. But for the control freaks/global governors, Hajj could be the ideal solution to spreading a global pandemic that could reduce the global population or collect more DNA, or to invent a new disabling vaccine for a target consumer out of their reach, or facilitate another rung towards a globalized policed state, and if all else fails increase the falling profits of the trade wings of the global economic elite, while most hajjis will know that life is more than that!
4th October 2013
Six new cases have arisen as Hajj 2013 sets in. The reaction may be a bit alarmist, as fears and wishful thinking grows, Saudi Arabia accounts for the majority of cases and deaths.
Glenn Thomas, spokesman for the UN health agency, said it had been informed by Saudi authorities that the virus had been detected in three men and three women in Riyadh, according to AFP.
But Saudi authorities have said they are optimistic that Hajj will pass off without outbreaks, given that faithful Muslims undertake lower-level pilgrimages at other times and there has been no mass spread of MERS. Saudi Arabia has, however, urged the elderly and chronically ill to avoid the event.
Experts are still struggling to understand MERS, for which there is still no vaccine.
It is considered a deadlier but less-transmissible cousin of the SARS virus that erupted in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people, nine percent of whom died, and sowed economic chaos.
Geo, S. “MERS-CoV Biological Weapon More Likely Based On New Evidence and Analysis” http://truthfrequencyradio.com/mers-cov-biological-weapon-more-likely-based-on-new-evidence-and-analysis/
“MERS challenge gets bigger with new cases” http://www.arabnews.com/news/466784
“Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV): update” https://www.gov.uk/government/news/middle-east-respiratory-syndrome-coronavirus-mers-cov-update
Palmer, B “Who Gets to Name New Diseases?” http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/explainer/2013/06/mers_cov_outbreak_who_gets_to_name_new_diseases.html
“TWN Info Service on Biodiversity and Traditional Knowledge” http://www.twnside.org.sg/title2/biotk/2013/biotk130502.htm
WHO “Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – update” http://www.who.int/csr/don/2013_06_26/en/index.html