North Korea is developing a coronavirus vaccine using data hacked by foreign scientists, according to reports. The secretive state is said to have set up a “hacking organization” to source key pandemic information from other countries, Daily NK claims.
A source told the publication that research done by the tech unit could be used to create a vaccine for citizens of the one-party republic – despite claims it has not had one recorded case of Covid.
The ruling party had apparently established a specialist team called Bureau 325 devoted to hacking intelligence on the virus.
And the source said that Phase I and Phase II vaccine trials had already been completed, with large-scale Phase III trials now underway.
Tests are being carried out on patients in North Korea who are showing similar symptoms to those of people suffering from coronavirus.
Claims of hacking first surfaced in the West last year before any of the vaccines currently in use in Europe and the US were approved, reports MailOnline.
The hacking group reportedly set up to access Covid information reports major finds to Kim Yo Jong, the sister of leader Kim Jong Un.
Kim and party secretary Jo Yong Won are also said to be managing the group’s activities themselves.
Despite the country’s claims, it is thought that it is possible the virus is circulating in North Korea because of its links to China, where the pandemic began.
A sweeping lockdown was enforced on both internal and external travel earlier this month, according to reports, although there has still been no official reporting of a case.
But it is unclear how a vaccine – if one is being developed – would be circulated around the state’s population.