All about the Nipah virus

Towards the end of a threat? Based on the same technology as for the vaccine against Covid-19, Moderna announced on January 11 that it was developing a preventive treatment against the Nipah virus. This disease, which prevails above all in Asia, has a case fatality rate between 40 and 75%.

If the latest alerts from the WHO (World Health Organization) date back to 2018, with the death of at least 17 people in India, the Nipah remains under intense surveillance. Indeed, the organization in question has placed the disease on a list of priorities for seeking a treatment, alongside Covid-19, Ebola or Zika.

The bat frugivorous is the natural host of this disease. As explained WHO, the mode of transmission to humans can then be by two vectors: either direct, after the bat has contaminated food, subsequently consumed by humans. Or via an intermediate host, usually the pig. There have also been reports of human-to-human transmission.

In 1999, when it was first identified in Malaysia, the Nipah virus first infected pig farms. The epidemic had then caused a hundred deaths.

What are the symptoms ?

When humans are infected, disease may not cause any symptoms for the first few days or a simple flu-like syndrome. The virus is subsequently characterized by severe breathing difficulties. The disease can also cause encephalitis (the inflammation of part of the brain) and lead to coma.

It remains to be seen whether Moderna’s program will succeed in developing a vaccine that will prevent a future epidemic episode of the virus.

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