SEOUL, Sept. 10 (Korea Bizwire) — There are currently no vaccines or set treatments for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), industry officials said Monday, as the country confirmed over the weekend its first case in some three years.
Pharmaceutical officials said that local drugmakers, such as Ilyang Pharmaceutical Co. and Gene One Life Science Inc., are in the process of developing potential vaccines that can tackle the disease in an effective manner following the outbreak in 2015.
The 2015 outbreak resulted in 38 deaths and 186 people testing positive for MERS overall.
In 2016, Ilyang Pharmaceutical’s experimental MERS virus treatment was selected as a state-backed research project, but the process is still considered to be in the early stage, they said.
“It is yet difficult to disclose details for the research as it is still in the early stage,” said a company official who asked not to be named.
Gene One Life Science has also conducted early-stage clinical trials to test human antibodies as a targeted treatment for people infected with MERs. The process is still in the early stage and will take time.
The first MERS case was recorded in Saudi Arabia and has since spread to other countries. As of June this year, the World Health Organization has reported 2,229 laboratory-confirmed cases.