RIYADH: Rodolfo C. Estimo Jr.
Published — Thursday 22 May 2014
Last update 22 May 2014 2:09 am
The Ministry of Health (MoH) has issued an advisory saying that eating camel meat and liver is safe as long as these animal products are cooked well.
The ministry said that it is also safe to drink camel milk after boiling it at a high temperature, quoting experts who met at an international medical meeting in Riyadh recently.
The meeting was attended by experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and universities from Australia, Germany and Britain.
The Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) had earlier reported that acting Health Minister Adel Fakeih had previously urged people to stay away from camel meat and milk to prevent coronavirus infection.
The ministry said that it would come up with periodic updates about the virus, as well as set up three centers in Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam to combat the disease.
CNN reported earlier this month that evidence was mounting that camels are the lead suspects of the virus.
Late last month, the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) reported that US and Saudi scientists found that MERS-CoV isolated from camels in Saudi Arabia matched samples from humans and can be grown in non-human primate cells in a lab, further augmenting the evidence that camels are a source of human infection.
The team generated complete genetic sequences for MERS-CoV isolated from five camels and determined that they were identical to published sequences of human isolates, according to their report in mBio, the open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Moreover, they succeeded in culturing viruses from two of the camels in “vero” (African green monkey) cells in their lab.
MERS-CoV cases have been reported in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and the Philippines. Coronavirus cases were also recently reported in the US.