Stanley Perlman, MD, PhD, University of Iowa professor of microbiology and pediatrics, is an expert virologist with over 30 years experience researching coronaviruses, including SARS. He and his team recently created the first mouse model of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which they are using to test potential therapies and vaccines. They also are sharing this resource with other research groups to advance understanding of the MERS virus.

Perlman recently returned from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he was a guest speaker at the 2nd Scientific Advisory Board Meeting for Global Centre for Mass Gathering Medicine. The meeting centered on the ongoing MERS outbreak and establishing appropriate preparations for the upcoming Hajj.

"I'm not surprised that we've seen first American case," Perlman says. "But, so far, the virus does not seem to easily spread from human to human. Our experience from the 2003-2004 SARS epidemic and subsequent increased research efforts in coronavirus biology and pathogenesis have facilitated a rapid response to this new infection."