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S. Korea to inject 1 bln won to develop coronavirus detection kit, treatment drug

All News 14:10 February 06, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will spend 1 billion won (US$844,000) this year on developing a detection kit and treatment drug for the novel coronavirus that has infected 23 people and placed hundreds in quarantine here, the government said Thursday.

The Ministry of Science and Technology said it will use its emergency response fund to help local researchers deal with the current situation. Many experts are predicting a drawn-out battle to isolate the illness and treat sick people.

The ministry said researchers will also try to determine key characteristics of the virus and carry out epidemiological investigations before picking existing viral infection drugs that show the best potential for combating the novel coronavirus.

The best candidate drug can be "repositioned" so it can be given to people who have been infected.

At present, there is no cure for the new type of coronavirus, with some South Korean doctors using drugs meant to fight West African Ebola and the human immunodeficiency virus.

"To kick-start the endeavors, the government will pick a laboratory or school, along with a chief researcher who can take charge of each project within the month, so actual work can start as soon as possible," it said.

Two medical staff members at Chonnam National University Hospital in Gwangju, 330 kilometers south of Seoul, wearing protective suits, goggles and respirators, get ready to enter a negative pressure chamber used to quarantine people with contagious diseases on Feb. 4, 2020. (Yonhap)


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