"A new virus that emerged in the Middle East last year and has killed five people is well adapted to infecting humans but could potentially be treated with drugs that boost the immune system, scientists said on Tuesday," Reuters reports, noting, "The virus, called novel coronavirus or NCoV, is from the same family as the common cold and as SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome." The news service writes, "In one of the first published studies about NCoV, which was unknown in humans until it was identified in September 2012, researchers said it could penetrate the lining of passageways in the lungs and evade the immune system as easily as a cold virus."
Volker Thiel of the Institute of Immunobiology at Kantonal Hospital in Switzerland, who led the study, "said that although the virus may have jumped from animals to humans very recently, his research showed it was just as well adapted to infecting the human respiratory tract as other coronaviruses like SARS and the common cold viruses," according to Reuters. "The study, published in mBio, an online journal of the American Society for Microbiology, also found that NCoV was susceptible to treatment with interferons, medicines that boost the immune system and which are also successfully used to treat other viral diseases like Hepatitis C," the news service adds (Kelland, 2/19).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.