MERS Current Affairs

South Korea declares end of MERS outbreak

South Korea has declared the deadly outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak in the country has over.

It was announced by South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-Ahn.

Severity of outbreak: It was the worst medical outbreak faced by South Korea originated from the alien virus from Saudi Arabia. It had killed 36 people and infected around 186.

The MERS outbreak was the biggest outbreak of the deadly virus outside Saudi Arabia. It had taken a toll on South Korean economy which is Asia’s fourth largest economy by stifling consumer spending.

Facts about Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

  • MERS belongs to the family of coronaviruses which includes large family of viruses such as common cold and Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
  • It was discovered in 2012 and was mostly centred in Saudi Arabia.
  • Source: MERS is a betacoronavirus derived from bats. Camels have shown to have antibodies to MERS, but the exact source of infection in camels has not been identified.
  • Transmission: It can be transmitted from infected person to others after close contact via a respiratory route.
  • It spread’s in droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • Symptoms: fever, breathing problems, pneumonia and kidney failure.
  • Treatment: Till date there is no vaccine available to prevent it. However, intensive medical care can help patient to breath.

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First potential treatment for deadly MERS virus identified by scientists

For the first time scientists have identified two promising drug candidates for the treatment of deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)  virus.

REGN3051 and REGN3048 are the two antibodies (drug candidates) which have shown ability to neutralise the MERS virus. This research was done in collaboration with New York based biopharmaceutical company Regeneron.

Research Summary

In order to validate effective antibodies to target MERS virus, researchers had relied on Regeneron’s VelociGene technology to create partially humanised mice that can be infected with MERS.

This partially humanised mouse model will help researchers further to boost their ability to study potential treatments. It will in turn help scientists to understand how the virus causes disease in people

About Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

  • MERS belongs to the family of coronaviruses which includes large family of viruses such as common cold and Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
  • It was discovered in 2012 and was mostly centred in Saudi Arabia.
  • Source: MERS is a betacoronavirus derived from bats. Camels have shown to have antibodies to MERS, but the exact source of infection in camels has not been identified.
  • Transmission: It can be transmitted from infected person to others after close contact via a respiratory route. It spread’s in droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • Symptoms: fever, breathing problems, pneumonia and kidney failure.
  • Treatment: Till date there is no vaccine available to prevent it. However intensive medical care can help patient to breath.

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