China says papers on MERS candidate to be published soon

Researchers at China's School of Basic Medicine of Fudan University have had papers accepted by "an international infectious disease magazine" that will be published soon showing a designed and tested anti-MERS polypeptide called HR2P to restrain infectivity of MERS-CoV.

The People's Daily newspaper said work done from 2013 to 2014 led by Jiang Shibo developed an upgraded HR2P, "which is much better in stability, solubility, antiviral activity and broad-spectrum activity."

The researcher told journalists the polypeptide can be inhaled for emergency prevention and can be used on MERS-infected patients to control the infection source, the People's Daily said.

Separately, two deaths were reported by South Korea related to Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, with at least 25 people infected with the virus, Bloomberg said, citing the country's health ministry from a televised briefing Tuesday.

Another 690 people who may be at risk of MERS have been told to stay at home, while about 100 were placed in isolation at government-designated hospitals, Bloomberg said.

The deaths have heightened public health concerns, and the government took flak for failure to contain the virus after a South Korean man supposedly under medical surveillance last week traveled from Seoul to China and was diagnosed as that country's first MERS case, Bloomberg said.

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