Mers virus

The Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers) has made its way to China with the first positive case announced on May 29, 2015. The patient is a South Korean traveller who came to Guangdong province via Hong Kong on business. Mers has killed more than 400 people in Saudi Arabia since 2012 and is considered a deadlier but less infectious cousin of the Sars virus that killed 299 people in Hong Kong in 2003.

A University of Hong Kong researcher uses a “lung in a test tube” to develop a treatment for the Middle East respiratory syndrome. Photo: Handout

HKU doctors combine two drugs for possible Mers breakthrough

Researchers say combination of cyclosporine – an immunosuppressant often used in organ transplants to prevent rejection – and interferon, which is used to treat influenza, show significant improvement in stopping virus from spreading in body and reducing tissue damage.