C-101 The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) experience in Korea

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In 2015 Korea experienced the largest outbreak of MERS outside of Saudi Arabia. Despite its impressive development and health care system, there were some features of the epidemic that were specific to Korea and others that were more typical of outbreaks elsewhere. Idiotypic features included Korean health seeking behavior, medical service in facilities, and visits to sick friends/family. Further analysis of molecular sequences suggests that there were genetic differences and a key question is whether these difference account for clinical features seen during the outbreak. Some evidence of a superspreader phenotype has been found. During the time since the outbreak a number of groups have initiated work on vaccines, and a DNA vaccine from GeneOne has been tested in humans. Within Korea, questions around the use of DNA vaccines delayed consideration of these candidates until legal issues were clarified and the first candidate under development is a DNA vaccine. A second, protein nanoparticle approach is also being developed. In all these trials aim to have candidates through phase II testing for future potential development.

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