North Korea says it has succeeded where the greatest minds in
science have failed.
authoritarian, impoverished nation better known for pursuing a nuclear
program despite global criticism announced Friday it has a drug can
prevent and cure MERS, Ebola, SARS and AIDS.
The secretive state did not provide proof, and the claim is likely to provoke widespread skepticism.
The official Korean Central News Agency said scientists developed
Kumdang-2 from ginseng grown from fertilizer mixed with rare-earth
elements. According to the pro-North Korea website Minjok Tongshin, the
drug was originally produced in 1996.
"Malicious virus infections
like SARS, Ebola and MERS are diseases that are related to immune
systems, so they can be easily treated by Kumdang-2 injection drug,
which is a strong immune reviver," KCNA said.
North Korea shut out
foreign tourists for half a year with some of the world's strictest
Ebola controls, even though no cases of the disease were reported
anywhere near the country, before lifting the restrictions earlier this
It is believed to be struggling to combat diseases such as
tuberculosis, and respiratory infections are among its most common
causes of death, according to the World Health Organization.
North Korea trumpeted the same drug during deadly bird flu outbreaks in 2006 and 2013.
North's claim comes as rival South Korea fights an outbreak of MERS
that has killed two dozen people and sickened more than 160 since last
month. There is no vaccine for the disease.