Lancet report urges, Nipah virus control needs more than R&D

Nipah virus - an infectious disease, has gained the world’s attention. After the outbreak in south India, it has taken at least 16 lives. A recently published article in The Lancet, mentions that controlling the virus will need more than Research and Development

Lancet report urges, Nipah virus control needs more than R&D

Nipah virus can also be transmitted from human to human, as in the current south India outbreak, with most cases occurring in family members or health workers caring for individuals sick with the high fever, vomiting, and breathing difficulties characteristic of infection.

Severe cases can lead to respiratory syndrome, encephalitis, and death- the case fatality rate may be up to 75%. There is no cure, vaccine, or specific treatment -supportive care is the most that can be offered to affected individuals.

The article says that in addition to diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines, surveillance infrastructure must be improved to rapidly identify and verify cases. It also mentions the need to better understand the ecology of bats and Nipah virus infection, especially outside of outbreak scenarios.

It further mentions that “as important is the need for behavioural change: local communities must be better supported to ensure infection prevention and control measures in health facilities to reduce transmission, and to conduct the community engagement and education required to modify behaviour and reduce risk.” It lays emphasis on long term plan and strategy.

The virus has so far been limited to South and East Asian countries and only these countries that are affected have remained interested in doing research in that.

The WHO cautions that the virus has devastating zoonotic potential and if the outbreak encompasses large geographic potential then it might become dangerous. The article therefore mentions the need to go beyond R and D and develop a long term strategy to eradicate it.