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MERS-CoV virus particles

MERS (the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) was discovered in Saudi Arabia in 2012. It is a disease caused by a coronavirus whose label is MERS-CoV. MERS-CoV is a betacoronavirus which originated in bats.

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses some of which cause common colds. They can infect both animals and people. MERS is a relative of SARS (the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus which swept around the world, infecting more than 8,000 people globally and killing 774 before it was stopped in 2004.