Scientists from China and the United States have been working together to come up with a treatment for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus, according to China Daily USA.
Jiang Shibo, who heads the research and development team in China at Fudan University, said they have already produced an m336 antibody with the help of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. After a series of animal testings, results have been positive. The group is set to do a clinical test next.
Meanwhile, as these researchers do further tests, Kaibao Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. in Shanghai, China, is preparing to unveil its MERS treatment, an injectable product, according to Reuters. No further details were revealed about this development, however.
Other pharmaceutical companies are also, reportedly, developing vaccines. Inovio Pharmaceuticals, which partnered with GeneOne Life Sciences, is in the first stages of its trial for a DNA-based vaccine, the INO-4500, and Novavax is conducting clinical tests on mice, in conjunction with the University of Maryland School of Medicine, according to Pharmaceutical Market Live. Companies like Greffex, Abviro and Nanoviricide are also setting up developments in its laboratories.
Pharmaceutical companies have been criticized for their slow response to MERS. Analysts said this may be due to the fact that the development for a SARS vaccine, a virus with similarities to MERS, became unprofitable 10 years ago.
Currently, MERS cases in South Korea already resulted in 16 deaths and 140 people are infected, while Saudi Arabia is keeping watch over five cases, according to CNN. One suspected case is being closely monitored in Slovakia in Europe.