Coronavirus, which emerged last year, does not appear to be infectious enough to create a pandemic, researchers have claimed.
Recently published in the Lancet, an analysis of 55 confirmed cases of the virus found that Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is currently unlikely to cause a pandemic on the level of SARS, a similar virus.
“Despite sharing many clinical, epidemiological, and virological similarities with SARS, the two viruses have distinct biology, such as the use of different receptors to infect cells in human airways", said Arnaud Fontanet, who led the research.
"MERS-CoV has not spread as rapidly or as widely as SARS did. SARS' adaption to humans took just several months, whereas MERS-CoV has already been circulating more than a year in human populations without mutating into a pandemic form."
However, the virus may still be in the process of mutating, which means in could become a far greater threat in the future.
The researchers, from the Pasteur Institute in Paris, have urged caution and enhanced surveillance of the virus in order to stop any future pandemic.
Fontanet said: “One of the main lessons of the SARS pandemic has been that early control of the virus (while it was still confined to southeast China) might have prevented its global spread.”