Panic gripped Kerala after a 23-year-old youth, who was undergoing treatment near Kochi, was tested positive for the deadly Nipah virus (NiV). Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja assured that elaborate arrangements have been made to tackle the emergency and there was no need for panic. In the wake of the Nipah scare in the southern state, a six-member team constituted by the Union health ministry has been sent to assess the situation on ground and assist state experts in disease preparedness. Nipah Virus: How Does the Infection Spread? What You Can Do to Prevent It.
There is no vaccine or cure for Nipah Virus so far. An experimental monoclonal antibody is the only available treatment for a Nipah virus infection, which was tested in Indian during an outbreak in 2018. However, if reports are to be believed, scientists have found an effective preventive drug for the Nipah virus. Reports inform that Remdesivir, which is also being tested against the Ebola virus, protected African green monkeys from a lethal dose of Nipah. The experimental drug was given to African green monkeys protected them from the virus. What is Nipah Virus? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and Preventive Measures of the Bat-Borne Illness.
Drug Made to Beat Ebola Also Effective Against Nipah Virus
Scientists are of the opinion that the drug, Remdesivir, which was designed to beat the deadly Ebola virus can also be effective against Nipah. As per results of the medical trail, scientists gave a lethal dose of Nipah virus to eight African green monkeys. Four of the monkeys were given intravenous Remdesivir, the experimental drug, and they survived while the other four monkeys that did not get the drug died within eight days.
According to a report by The New York Times, the antiviral drug Remdesivir protected the monkeys from lethal doses of Nipah virus. Though the viruses have very different outer shells, their polymerases- the genome-copying enzyme that the Remdesivir drug targets –are similar, the report said. What is Nipah Virus? How it Spreads, Symptoms & Preventive Measures.
A report by New York Times, quoted Emmie de Wit, a virologist at the US’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, saying that the drug “will give us an extra treatment that could be used relatively quickly”, if it wins approval. Ebola and Nipah belong to different viral families, but the Remdesivir drug appears effective against both the viruses. Nipah Virus Is What We Get When We Disrespect The Ecology.
Nipah Virus Back in India
How Nipah Got its Name:
The virus was detected for the first time in Malaysia in 1998. The deadly virus has got its name from the first place where it was detected-Kampung Sungai Nipah in Malaysia. The natural hosts of the virus are fruit bats, while pigs are intermediate hosts.
In May 2018, the deadly virus killed 17 people in Kerala while over 2,000 were kept under observation when the virus struck the state. Most of them were from Kozhikode district and some from Malappuram. According to reports, a total of 22 positive cases were reported from Kozhikode and Malappuram districts which created a huge scare in the state.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), fruit bats were the source of Nipah virus which created havoc in the southern state.
Bats Behind the Spread of Nipah in Kerala in 2018
In 2018, 17 people were killed after being tested positive of the deadly brain-damaging Nipah virus. In the first batch, 21 bats that were sent for test were negative. The second set of tests done on 55 fruit bats from Kozhikode confirmed that the nocturnal mammals were behind the spread.
Nipah in India in 2019
On June 4, the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune confirmed that a Kerala youth being treated near Kochi has tested positive for Nipah virus (NiV). Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan immediately held an urgent meeting at his residence in the national capital and assured Centre's support to Kerala. The central team reached the southern state for epidemiological investigation protocol, contact tracing for early detection of suspects, testing protocols for suspects and review of isolation facilities.