Oxford Scientists commence first human Vaccine Trials for Nipah Virus

India Pharma Outlook Team | Monday, 15 January 2024

 India Pharma Outlook Team

Scientists at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom have begun first-in-human vaccine trials for the deadly Nipah virus, which affects numerous Asian countries, including India. The trials of the ChAdOx1 NipahB vaccine will include 51 patients aged 18 to 55, led by the Oxford Vaccine Group.

Nipah virus is a devastating disease that can be fatal in around 75 per cent of cases, the researchers said. Outbreaks have occurred in countries in Asia, including Singapore, Malaysia, Bangladesh and India, with a recent one in Kerala in September last year, they said, as per economic times.

According to the experts, the Nipah virus is delivered by fruit bats and can also be transferred by contact with infected animals (such as pigs) or through intimate contact between people.

The virus, which the World Health Organization has designated as a priority disease requiring urgent research, is related to other well-known infections such as measles, according to the researchers.

There are presently no licensed vaccinations or treatments for Nipah virus, despite the fact that the first outbreaks occurred 25 years ago in Malaysia and Singapore.

"Nipah virus was first identified in 1998, and yet 25 years on the global health community still has no approved vaccines or treatments for this devastating disease," said the trial's Principal Investigator, Brian Angus, from the University of Oxford's Nuffield Department of Medicine.

"Due to the high mortality rate and the nature of Nipah virus transmission, the disease is identified as a priority pandemic pathogen. This vaccine trial is an important milestone in identifying a complete solution that could prevent local outbreaks occurring, while also helping the world prepare for a future global pandemic," Angus said.

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