FDA Issues Emergency Authorization For MERS Diagnostic Test; WHO’s MERS Advisory Committee To Resume Meeting

“The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency authorization on Tuesday for a diagnostic test to detect the presence of the Middle East coronavirus at the request of the [CDC],” Reuters reports. “The emergency approval follows the Health and Human Services secretary’s determination that the virus called Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which has killed at least 40 people, poses a potential public health threat,” the news agency notes (Steenhuysen, 7/16). The “WHO’s 15-member MERS-CoV emergency advisory committee meets in a teleconference again on July 17 at noon Geneva time,” CIDRAP News reports, adding, “The group’s first meeting, held July 9, was an inaugural session that focused on background briefings. At that time the panel decided it needed more time to further discuss and consider the situation” (Schnirring, 7/15). “The experts, pulled together by the [WHO] under powers given it by the International Health Regulations (the IHR), are expected to advise WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan on Wednesday whether she should declare MERS a ‘public health emergency of international concern’ or PHEIC,” the Canadian Press writes. “If the WHO declares MERS a public health emergency of international concern, it would add weight to its calls for quick and full reporting of all cases and to its recommendations to countries to be on the lookout for MERS cases,” the news agency notes (Branswell, 7/16).