Researchers close to finding vaccines to combat Nipah virus

"There were very rare cases of replication of the virus among the vaccinated animals"- Researchers

September 2nd marked the death of a 12-year old boy due to the Nipah virus in Kerala. An immediate investigation was carried out by the health department of the state which found that 188 people were infected, out of whom 20 were undergoing treatment. 
As per revised data released by the Kerala Health Department, 251 people were identified who came in contact with the 12-year old boy. Among those identified persons, 38 are in isolation at the Kozhikode Medical College hospital and out of them 11 show symptoms. It was added that 129 among them were healthcare workers.
The Nipah virus spreads mostly from bats and pigs. Researchers are trying to come up with a successful vaccine to protect us from the Nipah Virus.
According to an international team of researchers from London, a vaccine whose properties are similar to that of Covishield is found successful in monkey trial against Nipah Virus. It was said that Nipah Virus is caused by a photogenic virus, which can show serious infections among humans.
Even though no vaccines have got official approval against the NiV, the efficacy of ChAdOx1 NiV was carried out on eight green monkeys by researchers from the University of Oxford and the US National Institutes of Health.
ChAdOx1 nCoV is based on the same vector as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, which has already been approved for emergency use for vaccination in over 60 countries worldwide and got administered to 100 million people.
At the conclusion, the team noted that the safety profile obtained from the clinical study of ChAdOx1 combined with the efficacy study in animal models will provide sufficient information for approval of ChAdOz1 NiV.
To carry out the experiment, the monkeys were divided into two groups of four each. One group was administered with either one or two shots of the ChadOx1NiV and the other group was injected with dummy protein (ChAdOx1 GFP) again vectored by ChAdOx1.
representative image
Image: representative image
After that, all eight of them were artificially infected with the real Nipah virus. Some were given via the nose and some via the throat. A robust humoral and cellular response was detected on the 14 days after the first vaccination.
When artificially injected with the real Nipah virus, the control animals displayed a variety of signs and had to be euthanized between five-and-seven days post-inoculation. The researchers said that the vaccinated animals showed no signs of disease and they were unable to detect infectious virus in all but one swab and tissues.
Sarah C Gilbert from the Jenner Institute Nuffield Department of Medicine at Oxford said that no limited antibodies against fusion protein or nucleoprotein IgG could be detected even after 42 days post-infection with real NiV, even though the vaccination-induced a very robust protective immune response preventing extensive virus replication.
Earlier, researches showed that a single dose of ChAdOx1 NiV provided full protection in hamsters. There were very rare cases of replication of the virus among the vaccinated animals. One swab was negative for infectious virus and no virus was found in tissue obtained from vaccinated animals.
The data suggests that there are probable chances that vaccines provide immunity to monkeys. In both the cases of the monkey and the hamster who were vaccinated with ChAdOx1 NiV resulted in induction of high antibody titers coupled with complete protection against lethal NiV disease.
At the conclusion, the team noted that the safety profile obtained from the clinical study of ChAdOx1 combined with the efficacy study in animal models will provide sufficient information for approval of ChAdOz1 NiV.



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