A scientist warns: a Delta variant of the Nipah virus may be the ‘next pandemic threat’

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The creator of the Oxford anti-Covid-19 vaccine has warned that the Nipah virus, which kills at least half of its victims, is still one of the world’s next pandemic threats.

Professor Sarah Gilbert said there is no vaccine against the virus that causes brain swelling. But if it evolves to spread at a faster rate, as the Corona virus used to do, it could be catastrophic.

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All you need to know about the most deadly Nipah virus

Sarah explained, “Something that everyone is very aware of now is how the SARS-CoV-2 virus has spread around the world. It’s mutating, it’s evolving, and what we end up with is a delta variant that is highly transmissible. And if we get a delta variant ( evolved to be more transmissible) in the Nipah virus, then we have a highly transmissible virus with a mortality rate of 50%.”

Before work began on the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in January last year, Sarah said she had been working on vaccines for Nipah, Lassa and Mers. But her work has declined since the emergence of the “Covid-19” epidemic.

“We’ve learned from the pandemic that we can do things faster, we can do them better, and we want to apply those lessons, but we still need to get the funding to do that,” she said.

And she continued, “We need a stockpile of vaccines against these pathogens that we already know, because we do not know what it would look like if a fierce epidemic of Nipah virus suddenly started spreading all over the world.”

During her talk at the Cheltenham Literature Festival (a famous annual international festival of music and science) with her colleague at Oxford, Dr. Catherine Green, Sarah indicated that her work in developing anti-viral vaccines has declined since the beginning of the epidemic, and she said: “We have known this for years and started making a vaccine. Five years ago, but we couldn’t go on, and our work isn’t finished yet.”

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Scientists warn of an event that threatens planetary doomsday

It ranks Nipah “on top of the list” of ten priority diseases identified by the World Health Organization as potential sources of future epidemics, saying: “There is an urgent need for research and development of the Nipah virus.”

Scientists previously indicated that Nipah “could be the cause of a new epidemic.” It is actually less contagious than SARS-CoV-2, with an estimated case fatality rate between 40% and 75%, which is much higher than the coronavirus fatality rate.

It is noteworthy that about 20% of patients who were able to recover suffer from neurological problems, such as seizures or personality changes.

To prevent its spread, measures similar to “Covid-19” are taken, such as isolation and social distancing.

The Nipah virus is transmitted to humans from animals mainly by bats, but also by pigs, horses, goats, sheep, cats or dogs.

The World Health Organization said the majority of cases come from “consumption of fruit or fruit products contaminated with urine or saliva of infected bats”. The organization adds that it can also spread from person to person “through close contact with infected people”.

Source: The Sun





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