Nasty plausible scenario

Learning about and preparing for what now appears to be the "Great H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic of 2009"
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Tom Mazanec
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Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2008 12:13 pm

Nasty plausible scenario

Post by Tom Mazanec »

This is from 'neal' on the Arctic Sea Ice Forum. If it doesn't happen this time it is liable to happen sooner or later:
Re: Pathogens and their impacts
« Reply #542 on: Today at 04:05:33 PM »
Mass gatherings, such as sporting events and festivals, create ideal conditions for human-to-human transmission of a range of infectious diseases, which can rapidly spread globally due to ease of travel.1 In Qatar two mass gathering events are being held simultaneously, the FIFA World Cup 2022 championship2 and the Camel Mzayen Club's camel beauty pageant festival.3 These have attracted hundreds of thousands of people from within the Middle East and across the world. Many are attending both events, interacting closely with each other and with camels, creating ideal conditions for the transmission of camel-associated zoonotic pathogens with epidemic potential.4 These pathogens include the highly lethal MERS-CoV. Dromedary camels in the Middle East are a major reservoir of MERS-CoV. Humans sporadically become infected through direct or indirect contact with MERS-CoV-infected camels or camel dairy products.5

MERS-CoV was first reported as a new human pathogen from Saudi Arabia in 2012.6 MERS-COV is the most lethal of the three zoonotic coronaviruses (ie, MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2) that have caused human outbreaks.7 As of Nov 1, 2022, 2600 people have been reported to have laboratory-confirmed Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), including 894 deaths (ie, a 34% case fatality rate), globally from 27 countries.8 Although the majority of infections have occurred in the Middle East, eight countries in Europe have also reported confirmed infections, all with travel links to the Arabian Peninsula. In May 2022, Qatar authorities reported to WHO two individuals with MERS, of whom one died.9 Both had primary MERS-CoV infections, contact with camels, and had consumed raw camel milk. With MERS-CoV being endemic in camels in Qatar, the simultaneous hosting of the FIFA World Cup 2022, and the camel beauty pageant, poses an enhanced risk of transmission and globalisation of MERS-CoV.

To reduce the risk of MERS-CoV spreading, WHO and Qatar authorities have conveyed extensive health messaging to travellers to Qatar.2 This messaging includes avoiding direct contact with camels and avoiding consuming raw camel milk or camel meat. However, these messages are easily overlooked in the festive and competitive atmosphere. Furthermore, contact between imported and local dromedary camels participating in the pageant, camel owners, and attendees of both events is inevitable, and so is the consumption of popular foods in Qatar, which includes camel dairy products. ... 5/fulltext

And because bad things can happen in this world, here's a little scenario...

I’m going to put this in the simplest way I can. If MERS-CoV stumbles across SARS-CoV-2 on Tinder, it’s going to swipe right. If they infect the same person, they’re going to swap genes. It’s what they do. The odds are in their favor. They come from the same family. They’re both coronaviruses that originated in bats. Their ancestors have almost certainly recombined in the past.

That’s how they got here.

It’s not just possible.

It’s probable.

We’ve let SARS-CoV-2 become endemic throughout the world. It spreads all year now. It’s a matter of time before it meets up with MERS-CoV and then recombines in a way that’s more contagious and deadly.


Different RNA viruses recombine at different rates. SARS-CoV-2 is what biologists call an +ssRNA virus, or positive-sense-single-stranded. That means it recombines a lot. These types of viruses have other unique characteristics. As Sara Ryding explains, they can “modulate the gene expression and defenses of the host by co-opting host factors.” Covid-19 has been mutating and evading our immune systems more than almost any virus we’ve ever seen. That’s why we’ve had such a hard time getting rid of it, and it’s why our vaccines can’t keep up.

Now, what about MERS-CoV?

It’s also +ssRNA.

According to Frontiers in Public Health, scientists have seen MERS recombine at least five times, into “at least five major phylogenetically stable lineages, all of which contained human and camel MERS-CoV sequences.”

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