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Virologica Sinica

, Volume 33, Issue 5, pp 410–417 | Cite as

Countrywide Survey for MERS-Coronavirus Antibodies in Dromedaries and Humans in Pakistan

  • Ali Zohaib
  • Muhammad Saqib
  • Muhammad Ammar Athar
  • Jing Chen
  • Awais-ur-Rahman Sial
  • Saeed Khan
  • Zeeshan Taj
  • Halima Sadia
  • Usman Tahir
  • Muhammad Haleem Tayyab
  • Muhammad Asif Qureshi
  • Muhammad Khalid Mansoor
  • Muhammad Ahsan Naeem
  • Bing-Jie Hu
  • Bilal Ahmed Khan
  • Ikram Din Ujjan
  • Bei Li
  • Wei Zhang
  • Yun Luo
  • Yan Zhu
  • Cecilia Waruhiu
  • Iahtasham Khan
  • Xing-Lou Yang
  • Muhammad Sohail Sajid
  • Victor Max Corman
  • Bing Yan
  • Zheng-Li Shi
Research Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) Camel Human Pakistan 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank the Livestock and Dairy Development Department (L&DD), Punjab, Pakistan. This work was not possible without the personal interests of Secretary L&DD. This study was supported by the International Cooperation on Key Technologies of Biosafety along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (153B42KYSB20170004) and by the External Cooperation Program of CAS (153211KYSB20160001). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Author contributions

AZ, MS, MAA, JC, MSS and VMC wrote the manuscript. AZ, MS. MAA, ARS, SK, ZT, HS, UT, MHT, MAQ, MKM, BAK, IDU, IK and MSS participated in the sampling. AZ, JC, BJH, BL, WZ, YL, YZ, CW and XLY performed the experiments. AZ, MS, ARS, ZT, BJH, BL, WZ, YL, BY and ZLS analysed the data. ZLS and MS designed and supervised the overall study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interests

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Animal and Human Rights Statement

This study was approved by the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Institutional Review Board (China) and by the Ethical Review Committee of Government College University Faisalabad (Pakistan). All institutional and national guidelines for the care and use of laboratory animals were followed and informed oral consent was obtained from humans for which identifying information is included in this article.

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Copyright information

© Wuhan Institute of Virology, CAS and Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ali Zohaib
    • 1
    • 2
  • Muhammad Saqib
    • 3
  • Muhammad Ammar Athar
    • 4
  • Jing Chen
    • 1
  • Awais-ur-Rahman Sial
    • 5
  • Saeed Khan
    • 6
  • Zeeshan Taj
    • 7
  • Halima Sadia
    • 8
  • Usman Tahir
    • 8
  • Muhammad Haleem Tayyab
    • 3
  • Muhammad Asif Qureshi
    • 6
  • Muhammad Khalid Mansoor
    • 9
  • Muhammad Ahsan Naeem
    • 10
  • Bing-Jie Hu
    • 1
  • Bilal Ahmed Khan
    • 6
  • Ikram Din Ujjan
    • 11
  • Bei Li
    • 1
  • Wei Zhang
    • 1
  • Yun Luo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yan Zhu
    • 1
  • Cecilia Waruhiu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Iahtasham Khan
    • 12
  • Xing-Lou Yang
    • 1
  • Muhammad Sohail Sajid
    • 3
  • Victor Max Corman
    • 13
    • 14
  • Bing Yan
    • 1
  • Zheng-Li Shi
    • 1
  1. 1.CAS Key Laboratory of Special Pathogens and Biosafety, Wuhan Institute of VirologyChinese Academy of SciencesWuhanChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Faculty of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of AgricultureFaisalabadPakistan
  4. 4.Laboratory of Cancer Biomarkers and Liquid Biopsy, College of PharmacyHenan UniversityHenanChina
  5. 5.Department of Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary and Animal SciencesPMAS-Arid Agriculture UniversityRawalpindiPakistan
  6. 6.Dow University of Health ScienceKarachiPakistan
  7. 7.Department of MicrobiologyGovernment College University FaisalabadFaisalabadPakistan
  8. 8.Livestock and Dairy Development Department (L&DD)LahorePakistan
  9. 9.College of Veterinary and Animal SciencesThe Islamia University of BahawalpurBahawalpurPakistan
  10. 10.State Key Laboratory of Agricultural MicrobiologyHuazhong Agricultural UniversityWuhanChina
  11. 11.Liaqat University of Medical and Health ScienceJamshoroPakistan
  12. 12.Section of Epidemiology and Public Health, Department of Clinical SciencesUniversity of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore subcampusJhangPakistan
  13. 13.Institute of Virology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Corporate member of Free UniversityHumboldt-University and Berlin Institute of HealthBerlinGermany
  14. 14.German Center for Infection Research (DZIF)BerlinGermany

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