A systematic review of MERS-CoV seroprevalence and RNA prevalence in dromedary camels: Implications for animal vaccination.


Human infection with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is driven by recurring dromedary-to-human spill-over events, leading decision-makers to consider dromedary vaccination. Dromedary vaccine candidates in the development pipeline are showing hopeful results, but gaps in our understanding of the epidemiology of MERS-CoV in dromedaries must be addressed to design and evaluate potential vaccination strategies. We aim to bring together existing measures of MERS-CoV infection in dromedary camels to assess the distribution of infection, highlighting knowledge gaps and implications for animal vaccination. We systematically reviewed the published literature on MEDLINE, EMBASE and Web of Science that reported seroprevalence and/or prevalence of active MERS-CoV infection in dromedary camels from both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. 60 studies met our eligibility criteria. Qualitative syntheses determined that MERS-CoV seroprevalence increased with age up to 80-100% in adult dromedaries supporting geographically widespread endemicity of MERS-CoV in dromedaries in both the Arabian Peninsula and countries exporting dromedaries from Africa. The high prevalence of active infection measured in juveniles and at sites where dromedary populations mix should guide further investigation - particularly of dromedary movement - and inform vaccination strategy design and evaluation through mathematical modelling.

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