South Korea is to begin trials of an experimental plasma treatment for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) which has now killed 19 people. The treatment – which has already proved useful for tackling other deadly diseases, including Ebola – uses blood from patients who have successfully fought off the same infection. BBC reports:
To date, more than 150 people in the country have been infected with Mers. Also on Tuesday, Germany reported its first death from the disease. The 65-year-old man died in a clinic in the north-western city of Osnabruck, German media reports say. The South Korean health ministry said two hospitals would begin the plasma treatment trials.
The outbreak in South Korea originated from a 68-year-old man who had travelled to the Middle East. He was diagnosed as the country’s first Mers patient last month.
Four new cases were reported there on Tuesday, as well as three deaths. Officials emphasise that the number of new cases is decreasing, but there is still widespread fear and misinformation.