Korea tests MERS treatment with convalescent plasma

By | December 14, 2020

In June 2015, the MERS coronavirus claimed the lives of twenty people in South Korea, more than one hundred and sixty people were infected, and five and a half thousand patients, their relatives and employees of medical institutions are under quarantine. The World Health Organization has held an emergency meeting. In Germany, a 69-year-old man, who arrived from the United Arab Emirates, died on June 16 and was admitted to hospital on June 6. In Korea, an experimental treatment has begun for a disease for which there is currently no cure or vaccine.

Following the emergency meeting, WHO released a list of factors contributing to the spread of coronavirus in South Korea. The reasons for the spread were the lack of awareness of society and medical workers about MERS, inadequate control measures in medical institutions , close contact of infected people with other people, including frequent visits to relatives, and patients’ referral to several hospitals. WHO does not recommend restricting tourist and trade flows and considers it sufficient to provide information on the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. Earlier it was reported that 50% of those infected with the MERS virus in South Korea were infected while visiting the Samsung medical center in Seoul. Specialists have noted isolated cases of infection outside of medical institutions. According to the committee, the virus hasn’t mutated since 2012. The mechanism of transmission of coronavirus from person to person is still unclear. Doctors in South Korea have begun experimental treatment with plasma from cured patients. Plasma transfusion was given to two patients in different hospitals , but will continue to use other treatments. Scientists have no data on the effectiveness of the method, but in this way, mortality from SARS was reduced by 23%.

The virus that caused SARS is related to the MERS virus. By examining SARS, we have obtained data that can be applied to the study of MERS. In particular, there are ideas about what medications could be used for treatment. Currently, under the auspices of the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), several working groups are developing a vaccine. They have already achieved some success, but they still require a lot of time and work to be applied in clinical practice. Head of the Institute of Virology, University Clinic Bonn Christian Drosten (Christian Drosten)

There is no vaccine against the MERS virus, and the mortality rate is currently about 35%. At risk are people with weakened immunity, chronic lung disease, diabetes and kidney failure. The youngest patient to die of the disease in South Korea was 49 years old. In Germany, a 69-year-old man died on June 16 after traveling to the UAE.

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