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Iran’s coronavirus outbreak due to hereditary immunodeficiency; ex-KCDC head
  • By Lee Han-soo
  • Published 2020.03.11 14:31
  • Updated 2020.03.11 14:31
  • comments 0

A former director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has claimed that the sizeable COVID-19 outbreak in Iran is attributable to the country’s having a large number of hereditary immunodeficiency patients.

Professor Jung Ki-seok of the department of pulmonology at Hallym University Sacred Hospital

“A lot of people in the medical community do not know about such an issue, but Iran has a lot of hereditary immunodeficiency patients, and many Korean companies export antibodies to Iran,” Professor Jung Ki-seok at Hallym University Sacred Hospital said during a recent interview with MBC Radio. “It is necessary to look at such ethnic characteristics,”

While Korea does not have many people with hereditary immunodeficiency, those who have this problem need to be doubly cautious about coronavirus, he added.

Jung served as the KCDC head from 2016 to the first half of 2017.

Commenting on the situation in Italy, Jung said, “A quarter of confirmed COVID-19 patients in Italy are elderly people, while the average age of patients who have died is 81 years old,” Jung said. “Such numbers are a testament that the elderly have a weak immune system.”

The professor also pointed out that the Italian government failed to conduct a successful early quarantine against COVID-19 because of its relationship with China.

“Italy has a lot of exchanges with China, and the country can be seen as an example of failed quarantine attempt,” Jung said. “Besides, the lack of borders in the EU has made it difficult to carry out quarantine measures.”

Jung also criticized the World Health Organization for not declaring COVID-19 as a global pandemic.

“The pandemic has already started, but the WHO keeps postponing its decision to declare COVID-19 as a pandemic,” Jung said. “This is not right, I think.”

Asked why he thinks that the WHO is putting off such a decision, Jung said that because the WHO’s declaration affects the entire globe, it becomes very influential on governments’ decisions. For example, countries might use the WHO declaration as an excuse to solidify their borders, he said.


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