Home / Oxford Scientists Commence First Human Vaccine Trials for Deadly Nipah Virus

Oxford Scientists Commence First Human Vaccine Trials for Deadly Nipah Virus
Nipah virus, with a staggering fatality rate of approximately 75%, has been the cause of outbreaks in various Asian nations, including Singapore, Malaysia, Bangladesh, and India. A recent outbreak in Kerala last September underscored the urgency of finding effective preventive measures.

by Pragti Sharma / 15 Jan 2024 20:57 PM IST / 0 Comment(s) / 69

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Scientists from the University of Oxford have initiated the first-in-human vaccine trials for this formidable pathogen, prevalent in numerous Asian countries, including India, in order to combat the deadly Nipah virus.



The groundbreaking ChAdOx1 NipahB vaccine is currently undergoing trials with a cohort of 51 individuals aged 18 to 55, led by the Oxford Vaccine Group.



Nipah virus, with a staggering fatality rate of approximately 75%, has been the cause of outbreaks in various Asian nations, including Singapore, Malaysia, Bangladesh, and India. A recent outbreak in Kerala last September underscored the urgency of finding effective preventive measures. Transmitted by fruit bats and potentially through contact with infected animals or person-to-person transmission, the Nipah virus belongs to the paramyxovirus family, as recognized by the World Health Organization. Despite being identified 25 years ago, the absence of approved vaccines or treatments highlights the critical need for urgent research.



Brian Angus, the Principal Investigator of the trial and part of the University of Oxford's Nuffield Department of Medicine, emphasizes the significance of this vaccine trial. He notes that despite the Nipah virus being identified in 1998, the global health community still lacks approved vaccines or treatments. The high mortality rate and the virus's potential for transmission make it a priority pandemic pathogen.



In-Kyu Yoon, the acting executive director of vaccine research & development at CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations), the funders of the trial, underscores Nipah's epidemic potential. With fruit bat hosts residing in areas inhabited by over two billion people, the trial represents a crucial step in developing tools to protect against this lethal virus.



The vaccine employs the ChAdOx1 platform, the same viral vector vaccine platform used for the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The project spans the next 18 months, with additional trials expected in regions affected by the Nipah virus.



News Source: The Hindu


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