MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), an ongoing outbreak in South Korea, has its cure allegedly found by the neighboring North Korea. Since late May, South Koreans are struggling with the MERS epidemic, the worst outside Saudi Arabia, where the virus surfaced in 2012. MERS already killed 24 people and infected 166 others in the Asian country.
According to WHO, MERS so far, has no known vaccine or cure, yet Pyongyang has allegedly found the cure, as announced by its state-run media. The wonder drug is called Kumdang-2 and there is no mention whether the country would offer the cure to its neighbor who is still suffering the outbreak.
In an ABC News report, the Korean Central News Agency said scientists made the drug from ginseng grown from fertilizer with rare-earth elements. Minjok Tongshin, a pro-NK website, said the drug was produced in 1996.
According to the NPR news site, Kumdang-2 also said to have a website, and allegedly cures everything – AIDS, Ebola, diabetes, SARS, skin rashes, venereal disease, impotence, various cancers, drug addiction, liver disease and tuberculosis. The wonder drug allegedly can heal bone fractures as well, even “eight times faster than other medicines.” The drug is said to have helped a man recovered from injuries when he fell off a cliff, said the website.
Another claim by the website about Kumdang-2 is that the injection does not hurt. Since the drug has no unpleasant side effects, it can be used with other medicines. Furthermore, the drug makers said the MERS cure does not need to be taken on a regular schedule, and it even works better if there is no routine followed. Recovery rates are higher in random users than those who are punctual.
MERS cure is allegedly found by North Korea through Kumdang-2. NPR said the wonders of Kumdang-2 do not stop there, however according to ABC News, the secretive NK state did not give proof, and the claim tends to trigger skepticism. Furthermore, NPR notes that claims made about curing a certain disease are not new. The site said an Egyptian military made an announcement last year of an alleged “complete cure device” which could get rid of the virus that causes AIDS, but it could not.
Voice of America reports that North Korea is ordering its Middle East-stationed workers and diplomats to remain there for the meantime, as fears about MERS in Korea have escalated. An official from South Korea told the Korean Service of VOA that it is NK’s measure to prevent the spread of the virus in the country, since the health care system in North Korea is “so vulnerable.”
North Korea has an estimated 50,000 laborers in 16 countries worldwide. It was not clear if NK also bans its citizens from other countries to return home, said another SK official. The travel restriction so far appears to be for countries in the Middle East only, where MERS is prevalent.
WHO said, they do not receive any request for help from North Korea regarding how it deals with MERS, and do not know about the travel restrictions it imposes. Any trade or travel restrictions are not recommended by the U.N. agency, said WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier.
Earlier this month, North Korea asked South Korea to limit the latter’s visits to Kaesong Industrial Complex, as an anti-MERS precaution. The complex is an inter-Korean business park where at least a thousand Koreans travel to and from daily. At North’s request, the South provided quarantine equipment like thermal scanners, as well as masks. North Korea lifted early this year a travel ban and a three-week quarantine for fear of Ebola virus. The measures were imposed last October for almost everyone who enter the country.
MERS cure is allegedly found by North Korea, but an ABC News report states that NK itself is believed to be fighting against respiratory infections and tuberculosis, which, according to WHO, commonly caused death in the country. The report adds that North Korea also talked about the same drug in 2006 and 2013, during the bird flu outbreaks.
By Judith Aparri
NPR: North Korea Announces Cure For MERS (As If)
Voice of America: N. Koreans in Middle East Told to Stay Put Over MERS Fears
ABC News: North Korea Claims It Has Cure for MERS, Ebola and AIDS
Photo courtesy of NIAID – Creative Commons Attribution