Unpredictable MERS ‘deadlier than SARS’

Updated 18 August 2013
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Unpredictable MERS ‘deadlier than SARS’

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus is more deadly, unpredictable and has significant differences from severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus, according to Saudi and UK scientists studying the virus.
“MERS coronavirus appears to be more deadly, with 60 percent of patients with co-existing chronic illnesses dying, compared with the one-percent toll of SARS,” said Ziad Memish, Saudi deputy minister for public health.
He said that the MERS infecting humans is unpredictable because the source of the virus is not yet known. While sharing clinical similarities with the SARS-like fever, cough and incubation period, he said there are also some important differences such as the rapid progression to respiratory failure of up to five days. The progression occurs earlier than in SARS.
In a Lancet Infectious Diseases publication, Saudi and UK scientists also noted a trend of older patients with more men and patients with underlying medical conditions succumbing to the disease.
The symptoms of patients suffering from MERS coronavirus are fever (98 percent), chills (87 percent), cough (83 percent), shortness of breath (72 percent), and muscle pain (32 percent). A quarter of patients also experience gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea and vomiting.
However, in SARS, the majority of cases (96 percent) occurred in people with underlying chronic medical conditions including diabetes (68 percent), high blood pressure (34 percent), chronic heart disease (28 percent), and chronic renal disease (49 percent).
“The recent identification of milder or asymptomatic cases of MERS in health care workers, children, and family members of contacts of MERS cases indicates that we are only reporting the tip of the iceberg of severe cases and there is a spectrum of milder clinical disease which requires urgent definition,” said Ali Zumla, a professor from University College London.
“At the moment, the virus is still confined (to the Middle East),” said Dr. Christian Drosten of the University of Bonn Medical Centre in Germany. “But this is a coronavirus and we know coronaviruses are able to cause pandemics.”
Drosten, however, said that could be bad news. “That could mean the virus is more virulent and that (doctors) have a smaller window of opportunity to intervene and treat patients.”
Detecting MERS fast could be a problem since quick diagnostic tests aren’t available.
“Women in the (Middle East) region tend to have their mouths covered with at least two layers of cloth,” he said. “If the coronavirus is being spread by droplets, (the veils) should give women some protection.”


Where We Are Going Today: Workout studio aims to empower Saudi women

Updated 27 April 2018
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Where We Are Going Today: Workout studio aims to empower Saudi women

  • Studio55 is about empowering women to be more in all aspects of life. It’s more than just an exercise
  • It combines spinning with yoga, pilates, TRX, zumba, core fitness and strength training all in one session

Studio55 is a boutique chain for women in Saudi Arabia with a workout studio that features a complete cross-training approach to fitness and well-being. 

It has two branches, one in Alkhobar, established in June 2015, and one in Jeddah, set up in October 2017. 

Al-Batool Baroom, Studio55’s commercial director, said that the studio’s particular approach combined spinning with yoga, pilates, TRX, zumba, core fitness and strength training all in one session.

“It is offered to all our members under one roof through our four workout zones: Ride55, Fitness55, Focus55 and Fusion55.” 

The studio also keeps track of members’ workouts through a software program called Performance IQ. 

It sends the member their workout performance statistics by email at the end of the class and stores the data on their studio profile. 

The information includes their average heart-rate, calories burnt, average RPM (in spinning classes), time and distance.

“Studio55 is about empowering women to be more in all aspects of life. It’s more than just an exercise. We work on awareness, education and community events alongside our workouts and fitness engagement,” Baroom said.

“Every now and then we invite inspiring role-models to come and give an open talk at the studio, as well as prominent instructors to give classes. Some of our guests have included Princess Reema, Raha Moharrak, Dina Al-Tayeb, Manal Rostom, Nelly Attar and Hala Alhamrani.” 

Fatima Batook, founder of Studio55, encouraged women to visit the studio to help to change their lives for the better.

“Women should come to us to be more, to get inspired by our trainers and live their lives to their full potential, achieving not only health and fitness goals but personal life goals,” she said.