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JH Ahn was an NK News contributor based in Seoul. He previously worked as an interpreter for United States Forces Korea.
North Korea claimed to have developed a cure for MERS and other viral infections, the Korean Central News Agency reported Friday.
Choi Chang Sik, the chief researcher at the Public Health Administration Lab in the North’s Ministry of Public Health told state media that North Korea’s Kumdang-2 injection can cure many immunity-related disease such as MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus).
He explained that the MERS virus infects those who have weaker immune function than others. Thus, according to him, the best way to prevent infection from MERS would be to increase the level of immunity in one’s body.
The article also emphasized that “diseases such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), Ebola and MERS are all related to the body’s immune system. One can easily beat such diseases if one takes the DPRK-produced Kumdang-2 injection.”
Jon Sung Hun, CEO of Chosun Bukang Medical Company, said that Kumdang-2 was developed through fertilizing Gaesong’s ginseng fields with rare earth elements. Later, the rare earth-fed ginseng is harvested and the essence extracted, producing the substance for injection.
The article even mentions that many DPRK and foreign media outlets have already reported the contribution of the Kumdang-2 injection towards SARS, Avian Influenza, MERS and even AIDS. NK News has not found any solid proof beyond that article that Kumdang-2 is a valid cure for the deadly diseases KCNA claims it treats.
Bang Jun-seok, a clinical pharmacy professor at Sookmyung Women’s University in Seoul, told NK News that the North’s claims are likely dubious and that false claims of cures are not uncommon.
“If their claims are true,” said Bang, “the World Health Organization and the rest of the world’s most influential pharmaceutical companies should be calling North Korea right now.” He pointed out that it is daily routine for pharmacists to struggle with unknown claims of inventions of such cures and treatments.
“When I was working in the lab, I got at least 30 phone calls per month claiming that someone had invented a panacea for such and such disease.” He continued, “it would be waste of time for WHO to even consider sending an email to the DPRK requesting certified data on Kumdang-2, which they don’t have.” Bang emphasized that it is crucial to have valid data or proof to be recognized by the world’s health authorities.
At the end of the KCNA’s article, the North also claimed that Kumdang-2 was widely used in the United States to prevent and cure a virulent strain of flu which took hundreds of American lives.
“There are two reasons why people lie about effectiveness of pharmaceuticals,” said Bang. “It is either that they are trying to sell it to whomever they can or to manipulate stock prices.”
Featured image: KCNA