Nipah Virus: International team tested monkeys, Kovishield vaccine can help fight Nipah virus

London- A vaccine like Covishield has been found successful in monkey trials against Nipah virus. An international team of researchers has made this claim. Nipah virus (NIV) is a highly pathogenic and re-emerging virus, which causes sporadic but severe infections in humans.

It killed a 12-year-old boy in Kerala last week amid a surge in Covid cases, while all high-risk contacts of the deceased have been reported negative. Nearby states have been put on high alert for the disease. In 2018, 17 of the 18 people who came to the virus outbreak in the state had died. No vaccines are currently approved against Nipah.

Researchers from the University of Oxford and the US National Institutes of Health investigated the efficacy of CHADOX1 NiV in eight African green monkeys. They published the results of this research on the pre-print server BioRxiv, which means it has yet to be fully reviewed.

CHADOX1 NIV is based on the same vector as CHADOX1 nCoV-19, which has been approved for emergency use in more than 60 countries around the world and has been administered to 100 million people. One group of four monkeys were given two shots (dose) or one shot of CHADOX1 NiV, the other group was injected with a dummy protein (CHADOX1 GFP) and again vectored by CHADOX1. Then all eight monkeys were already or artificially infected with the real Nipah virus, some through the nose and others through the throat.

A strong humoral and cellular response was detected from day 14 onwards after initial vaccination. When artificially infected with genuine Nipah virus, control animals displayed a variety of symptoms. In contrast, the vaccinated animals showed no signs of disease, and we were unable to detect the infectious virus in all but one swab and all tissues, the researchers said.

Sarah C. Gilbert, from the Jenner Institute Nuffield Department of Medicine in Oxford, said limited antibodies against the fusion protein or nucleoprotein IgG could not be detected until 42 days after infection with eel NiV. This suggests that vaccination induces a very strong protective immune response to prevent widespread virus replication. Researchers said the data that emerged suggests that the vaccine could confer complete protective immunity in monkeys.

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