Monkeys have been infected with the strain of deadly coronavirus in an attempt to find a medicine to the epidemic which was originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan. According to media reports, more than 2,400 rhesus macaques have been exposed to the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus. The World Health Organisation has said that this particular strain can cause shortness of breath, fever, cough and in some cases, organ failure.
The findings of the three groups of monkeys to be infected with the fatal strain have been published in Drug Target Review. According to the study from the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH), a vaccine called 'remdesivir' has been successfully developed to prevent the infection. Media reports also state that one of the groups of monkeys in Montana, US was given the vaccine 24 hours before being infected with MERS-CoV while another group was injected with it at least 12 hours after infection. However, the third group received none.
After which, all groups were reportedly put under observation for six days and it was revealed that those who were treated with the medicine prior to the infections showed no symptoms. While those who were treated after the infection were shown to have suffered less damage to their lungs and the outcome of those who did not receive any medicine remains unknown. According to media reports, the monkeys will be able to trial it in the fight against Covid-19 which has killed more than 2,500 people in China.
While the scientists are trying to find the cure of the deadly outbreak, China's President Xi Jinping reportedly said that the epidemic is communist China's 'largest public health emergency' since its founding in 1949. Meanwhile, the death toll in China has surpassed 2,500 and the National Health Commission reportedly confirmed 150 new cases.
Jinping further called the outbreak a 'crisis' and said that the epidemic has the 'fastest transmission' and the widest range of infection which has been the most difficult to prevent and control.
While speaking to a Chinese local media outlet, the President further acknowledged that the epidemic will have a 'large impact on the economy and society', however, he also stressed that the effects will be 'short-term' and 'controllable'.
His comments come as the total number of confirmed cases within China hit nearly 77,000. While on the other hand, South Korea raised the alert level to 'highest' as the number of infected people in the nation soared.