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MERS virus: Two-drug cocktail curbs MERS in monkeys

Doctors said Sunday that a combination of two anti-viral drugs was an option for treating MERS respiratory disease after the therapy was found to work on lab monkeys.
Posted By CAROLINE LEE, UPI.com   |   Sept. 9, 2013 at 10:56 AM   |   Comments

Sept. 9 (UPI) -- As the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus plagues Saudi Arabia, American researchers have found a solution that may help curb MERS.

Testing so far has only been done on lab monkeys intentionally infected with MERS using a two-drug combination, but the cocktail is hoped to help curb the respiratory virus in humans. The virus has symptoms including pneumonia, fever, shortness of breath, cough and gastrointestinal issues.

The results of the tests have been relatively positive, as autopsies on the animals showed less lung damage and a reduction of overall virus tissues in the body.

The virus killed three people in Saudi Arabia this month, so the findings might soon be used to help patients who have contracted the MERS coronavirus this year.

There is still no vaccine available, however, the combination of drugs might be used to lengthen the life spans and lessen overall health damage in extreme cases of the virus.

Follow @cmlee and @UPI on Twitter.
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