Wednesday , July 28 2021

Japanese scientists gain support for work with a potential Nipah vaccine

LONDONThe World Coalition set up to combat emerging epidemics has reached a $ 31 million deal with scientists at the Tokyo Tokyo University to accelerate work on a brain-damaging disease caused by the Nipah virus.

CEIPI said the Tokyo University team would receive up to $ 31 million to develop the production and target production of a bat-transmitted disease.

The Nipah virus was first identified in 1999 during a disease outbreak affecting pig farmers and others in close contact with pigs in Malaysia and Singapore. More than 100 people died in this outbreak and about one million pigs were killed to try to stop it from spreading.

Nipah is transmitted to humans by direct contact with infected bats, infected pigs or other infected humans.

At least 17 people died in the Nipah outbreak in India last year, reporting 19 cases – a 90% mortality rate.

The CEPI, which was set up in early 2017, aims to dramatically accelerate the development of vaccines against new and unknown diseases – commonly known as X disease.

"There is an urgent need for accelerated research and development for the Nipah virus," said Richard Hachet, CEPI CEO. "Not only is the mortality rate for this disease high … there is a serious risk (it) can become a threat to global health security."

Nipa is part of the World Health Organization's priority pathogens list, along with Ebola, Zica, MERS, Lassa, and Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.

The experimental vaccine of the Tokyo team was developed using a weakened measles virus vaccine with Nipah viral genes built into it.

CEPI said its funding would help advance the potential candidate for vaccination by mid-stage human testing in order to be produced and stored for use in research.

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