Oxford researcher warns of virus that threatens new pandemic

The Nipah virus is one of the next pandemic threats, warned one of the Oxford scientists who developed AstraZeneca’s vaccine against covid-19 Sarah Gilbert.

According to her, there is still no vaccine for this virus and the studies that were ongoing had to be interrupted by the covid-19 pandemic.

“If we have a Delta variant of the Nipah virus, suddenly we have a highly transmissible virus with a 50 percent mortality rate,” said Sarah Gilbert during an event at the UK’s Cheltenham Literature Festival.

nipah virus

Credit: Dr_Microbe/istockResearchers fear Nipah virus could spawn new pandemic

Nipah tops the list of ten priority diseases that the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified as potential sources of future epidemics.

The virus recently claimed a victim in India and forced hundreds of close contacts into isolation to contain a possible outbreak.

What is Nipah Virus

It is a zoonotic disease, that is, transmitted from an animal to a human. It is usually transmitted from the ingestion of fruits contaminated with saliva or urine from infected bats, which are natural reservoirs of this virus.


Credit: CraigRJD/iStockBats are natural reservoirs of this virus

Transmission can also occur directly from person to person or from contact with infected pigs.

Since its discovery in Malaysia in Malaysia among pig farmers, the virus has caused some outbreaks in Asia among humans. In addition to India and Malaysia, cases have also been registered in Indonesia. In Brazil, there is no record to date.

Signals and symptons

The incubation period (range from infection to onset of symptoms) is believed to range from 4 to 14 days.

The Nipah virus causes flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, fatigue and breathing difficulties.

Also, in more severe cases, it can cause brain swelling and the condition progressing to coma.

The fatality rate is estimated at 40% to 75%. There is no specific treatment, only supportive treatment for symptom relief.