Global health coalition pledges up to $25 million for Nipah vaccine

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A videoconference was held on Friday in which Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme officials at the state health society were issued instructions by the Centre in view of the Nipah virus spread in Kerala.

The other mode of transmission is human to human, through body secretions and respiratory secretions.

According to World Health Organization, consumption of fruits or fruit products like raw date palm juice contaminated with urine or saliva from infected fruit bats is a source of infection.

Nipah virus may not have spread beyond Kerala but its scare has spread across the country with several states investigating suspicious cases and issuing advisories on precautions and travel to Kerala.

Earlier, samples of three insectivorous bats caught from an unused well of the Moosa family, which lost three members to the virus, were sent to the Bhopal laboratory along with samples of pigs, goats and cattle in the five km radius of the affected area and all of them tested negative, he said. "Citizens should follow preventive measures and hygiene", Ms Tiwari said.

Although, no Nipah virus related incident has been reported yet in Odisha, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Bhubaneswar, has already set up an isolated ward to admit patients afflicted with the virus.

Carried by fruit bats Nipah virus has killed several people in southern India
Carried by fruit bats Nipah virus has killed several people in southern India

Another 40 people with Nipah symptoms, which can include high fever, vomiting and convulsions, are being treated in area hospitals.

Two more people under treatment at the Medical College are confirmed to have been infected by Nipah virus. Testing is planned on bats, suspected as the source of the outbreak, collected from the well in the home of the index illness family.

On May 24, CEPI said it would grant up to $25 million over the next five years to USA pharma firms Profectus BioSciences and Emergent BioSolutions to advance the development of a vaccine against the viral infection, which has proved to be fatal in 70% of cases. In Kerala, bat has been identified as a carrier of the virus.

Between four and 14 days may elapse between the infection and a patient's first symptoms. Patients will experience mild to severe acute respiratory infection.

According to CEPI statement today, through a separate agreement Emergent has an exclusive option to license and control development of Profectus' Nipah virus vaccine.

Officials of Medical and Health Department also said that they were advising people not to visit Kerala at least till the situation comes under control. "People have been advised to keep distance from bats and pigs".

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