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U.S. FDA grants emergency approval for test to detect MERS

(Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency authorization for a diagnostic test to detect the presence of the Middle East coronavirus at the request of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The emergency approval, issued last month and posted in the Federal Register on Tuesday, followed a determination by the Health and Human Services secretary that the virus called Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which has killed at least 40 people, poses a potential public health threat.

On July 5, the World Health Organization said MERS, which can cause fever, coughing and pneumonia, had not yet reached pandemic potential and may simply die out.

WHO experts last month said countries at risk from MERS should put in place plans for handling mass gatherings but they have stopped short of recommending restrictions on travel.

(The story has been coorected to show that authorization occurred in June but was published in Federal Register on Tuesday)

(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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