Blood taken from a soldier who defected from North Korea has been found to be immune to anthrax, prompting fears the rogue nation are looking for ways to weaponise the biological agent.
The soldier made headlines this year as footage was distributed of his daring escape from the notoriously secretive nation, making his way across the Korean DMZ and finally to the South Korean border.
Now, South Korean officials have confirmed the renegade soldier has contained anthrax antibodies in his bloodstream, raising concerns Kim Jong-un’s regime are looking for ways to turn it into a weapon.
Check out the footage below:
According to a UPI report (United Press International), which makes reference to South Korean news network Channel A, the solider, who cannot be unidentified for security reasons, was either exposed to or vaccinated against the deadly agent and had developed some form of immunity against it prior to his escape, report The Mirror.
One South Korean official told Channel A:
Anthrax antibodies have been found in the North Korean soldier who defected this year.
The international community has long-suspected the DPRK has been developing weapons for biological warfare after Kim's regime unveiled the work of the Pyongyang Biological Technology Research Institute back in 2015, which is run by the Korean People's Army Unit 810.
Recently, it was reported a joint special operations team, consisting of American and South Korean soldiers, were planning a covert mission into North Korea in a bid to disarm their 'alleged' weapons of mass destruction.
The reports came after it was revealed Kim Jong-un and his government, in the capital of Pyongyang, are looking for ways to fit anthrax onto ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missile).
The regime claims the Pyongyang Biological Technology Research Institute is being used to research pesticide, however North Korean analysts have said 'dual-use' equipment in the facility 'suggests' it's being used to produce weapons.
Japanese newspaper, Asahi, reported the US government are aware of the regime's attempts to test anthrax-fitted warheads on ICBMs - the 'apparent' tests involve finding out whether anthrax bacteria can survive 'high temperatures on re-entry from space'.
Kim's regime has strenuously denied those accusations and has gone so far as to claim they would 'take revenge' on the United States of America for even suggesting they are developing biological weapons.
The discovery of an anthrax antibody in the North Korean deserter has raised concerns in the South's capital, Seoul, who are now under pressure to develop a vaccine.
Speaking to Sky News, Defence ministry spokesman Choi Hyun Soo said a vaccine should 'be developed by the end of 2019'.
Anthrax is an infection caused by a bacteria known as Bacillus anthracis, it can be contracted via; skin, lungs, the intestines (through digestion), and injection.
Effects and symptoms include; blisters and swelling on the skin, fever, chest pain, shortness of breath, diarrhea (which may contain blood) abdominal pains, nausea and vomiting.