Nipah: India to seek Oz aid for monoclonal antibodies

| Updated: 16 September, 2023 1:20 pm IST

Kozhikode: Amid Nipah virus infection being reported in Kerala, with 1080 people registered as the primary contacts and many under strict observation, India has decided to reach out to Australia to procure 20 more doses of monoclonal antibodies for treatment of the deadly virus.

The ICMR DG Rajeev Bahl said that the apex body for medical research is planning to start working to develop a vaccine against the viral disease. He said that the mortality among the infected is very high in Nipah (between 40 and 70 per cent) compared to the mortality in Covid, which was 2-3 per cent.

READ MORE: Nipah cases rise to 5 in Kerala, govt steps up surveillance in two districts

“We got some doses of monoclonal antibody from Australia in 2018. Currently the doses are available for only 10 patients,” Bahl said, adding globally monoclonal antibody has been given to 14 patients infected with Nipah virus outside India and all of them have survived.

ICMR DG added that it can only be given as compassionate use medicine and said “Twenty more doses are being procured. But the medicine needs to be given during the early stage of the infection.”

However, in a big relief health minister Veena George confirmed that the 11 samples that were awaiting results for Nipah virus had tested negative. This included the samples collected from people in the high-risk category.

“Medical boards have constituted in hospitals where Nipah patients are admitted. As per the review conducted by the boards, all the patients are stable. Doctors have conveyed that the health condition of the 9-year-old boy who is in ventilator is stable and improving”, said Health minister Veena George.

Meanwhile, the health department officials said that they have achieved a breakthrough in the fight against Nipah in Kerala after they succeeded in establishing the virus infection in the index case on Friday. Till now it was only an assumption that Muhammad Ali, the patient who died on August 30, was the index case, from whom five others got infected.

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