New York: The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified a new virus, similar to the dreaded Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus, and has termed it as a `threat to the entire world`.
The SARS-like virus termed as MERS has killed 24 people so far, with more than half of 44 people diagnosed with the disease, the New York Daily News reports.
Terming the virus as a threat, WHO Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan, said that her greatest and immediate concern is that the new coronavirus is emerging faster than people`s understanding of its magnitude, adding that the virus cannot be managed or kept to itself by any single affected country.
Stating that WHO does not have necessary information about the virus like its origin and its mode of infection, Chan said that until the organization is capable of answering these questions, they cannot prevent the ever-spreading virus.
The report said that while the coronavirus causes the common cold, the new coronavirus, or MERS, has killed more than half of those who have been diagnosed with it.
Meanwhile, the report said that Dutch scientists have taken the unusual step of patenting the killer virus in an unusual move that might complicate finding a vaccine,.
However, the move has angered the WHO, according to Chan, who said that doing so is impeding the search for treatment, adding that WHO cannot allow making deals between scientists because of their personal wishes to take out intellectual property and publish in scientific journals.
But, the Dutch researchers said that they patented the virus in order to spark drug companies` interest in developing a vaccine and denied that they had kept the virus from anyone.
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the symptoms of the virus includes fever, cough and shortness of breath.
Cases have so far been confirmed in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Tunisia, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.