South Korea Treats MERS with Experimental Plasma Treatment, WHO in Emergency Session

Amid four more new cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), South Korea is experimenting yet-to-be approved blood plasma transfusion from recovered patients to new victims.

It was carried out on two patients on consent, said head of public health policy, Kwon Jun-wook, in a media briefing.

"There is insufficient clinical basis about the result of plasma treatment among experts in the country, but the ministry has deep confidence in the medical staff on the direction of the treatment," he said.

Plasma treatment was carried out in the past on SARS patients with some positive results bringing down the death rate by 23 percent, Kwon noted.

The World Health Organization (WHO), which has termed the outbreak as "large and complex" is yet to react to South Korean experimental treatment and its efficacy.

Plasma therapy has not been clinically tested fully, nor on MERS patients so far. Nor the disease, which was known for the last three years, has any vaccine developed so far.

The first MERS case was reported on May 20 in South Korea and one person who contracted it died in London today. With new 4 cases, the total cases has gone up to 154 so far in South Korea and 19 of them succumbed to it already.

Resembling the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in China that broke out in 2003, MERS is fast spreading in unsuspicious South Korea, reasons still remaing untraced about its origin.

Earlier, Saudi Arabia was the victim of MERS in 2012 with 454 deaths and more than 1,000 victims on record from it.

Today’s WHO meeting with experts is likely to throw some details.

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