North Korea claims to have discovered miracle drug, cure for MERS

An unlikely saviour to the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) emerged today, as North Korea took a break from developing nuclear weapons and discovering unicorns to claim it had developed a wonder drug able to cure the deadly respiratory disease affecting its southern neighbour, as well as Ebola, Aids, cancer and host of other diseases and maladies.

Although not renowned for its scientific or medical prowess, the country's official Korean Central News Agency said scientists had developed the vaccine, known as Kumdang-2, from ginseng (a herbal drug taken from the root of the perennial plant) grown from fertilizer mixed with rare-earth elements.

South Korea reported its 24th death from the deadly respiratory disease MERS on Friday, as well as a new case, bringing the total confirmed number of cases to 166 this year. Thailand announced its first case of the disease in a man who was diagnosed after he traveled to Thailand from a Middle Eastern country, and it was also detected in Germany earlier this week.

The 'vaccine' has its own rather jumbled website (available in both Russian and English) which comes loaded with information and 'clinical' evidence. Apparently using "the opinions of millions of patients", scientists concluded that the vaccine, is "highly effective in preventing and curing the MERS virus and other contagious diseases", the website says.

The website goes on to claim that Kumdang-2 can also be used to treat diabetes, drug addiction, bird flu, Aids, heart disease, impotence, the common cold, "harm from use of computers", insomnia, epilepsy, cystitis, all forms of hepatitis, tuberculosis, various cancers and venereal disease as well as offering "resistance to aging" and "anti-radioactive".

The site claims that the vaccine works by tackling "malicious virus infections" such as SARS, Ebola and MERS which are "related to immune systems, so they can be easily treated by Kumdang-2 injection drug, which is a strong immune reviver".

Although North Korean citizens are strictly forbidden from travelling out of the country, the website also states that patients treated with Kumdang-2 "had not contracted any infectious diseases, even as they had traveled to the areas hit by those diseases".

The hermit nation has a history of incredible claims of discovery. In 2013, North Korea told its citizens that archaeologists from the Academy of Social Sciences at North Korea's History Institute in Pyongyang had found proof that unicorns exist, after discovering a unicorn's lair.

The government has also claimed that leader Kim Jong-un learnt to drive when he was three and that his father, Kim Jong-Il, was born on Korea's most sacred mountain as the seasons changed from winter to spring, when actually Soviet records show, he was unremarkably born in the Siberian village of Vyatskoye.

For those tired of taking their GP's advice, courses of the vaccine Kumdang-2 can be bought from a Moscow-based distributor called "Korea-Bud". The course is a bargain at a mere €24.53.

In the words of Dr Jeong Jae Hee, who endorses Kumdang-2 on its website: "I wish you good health and respect doctor".