Chinese and US researchers have developed an antibody to fight the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), an expert has claimed

Zhong Nanshan, a Chinese respiratory expert known for leading the battle against the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak in Guangdong in 2003, made the comments in an interview with mainland newspaper Huashang Bao on Sunday.

zhong nanshan fudan university mers
Chinese respiratory expert Zhong Nanshan. Photo: Baidu Baike

Zhong said scientists at the Fudan University in Shanghai and the US National Institutes of Health jointly developed the antibody called M336, according to the newspaper. Zhong revealed the antibody was tested successfully on animals and authorities hope to begin clinical trials soon.

He said a South Korean man being treated for MERS in Guangdong Province, China’s only confirmed MERS case, is showing signs of recovery. The businessman, 44, travelled to China from South Korea late last month. He ignored his doctor’s advice to cancel the trip after his father was infected with the virus, according to a statement by the South Korean Health Ministry. Zhong said the patient’s fever stopped and samples of his urine and serum tested negative for MERS last week.  A more thorough test will be conducted on Monday or Tuesday, Zhong added.

South Korea has reported 150 MERS cases as of Monday, 16 of which were fatal. In Hong Kong, 23 suspected cases were all tested negative.

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.