An international team of medical researchers have found that a Covishield-like vaccine is successful in monkey trials against Nipah virus.
The Nipah virus (NiV) is a zoonotic virus which can be transmitted through food or by direct contact with the infected person.
The virus the life of a 12-year-old boy in Kerala last week. All the high-risk contacts of the deceased have tested negative but the neighborhood states have been put on high alert. In 2018, an outbreak of the virus in the state resulted in killing 17 people of the 18 tested positive with the virus. Presently, there are no vaccines against NiV which have been approved.
The efficacy of ChAdOx1 NiV was tested on eight African green monkeys. He test vaccine ChAdOx1 NiV is based on the same vector of the Covishield vaccine. The University of Oxford along with the US National Institutes of Health conducted the research.
One group of four monkeys were administered either two shots or a single shot of the ChadOx1NiV, while the other group were injected with dummy protein.
Each of the monkey's were artificially infected with real Nipah virus, some given via the nose and others through the throat.
In the first 14 days post initial vaccination a robust humoral and cellular response was detected.
When the monkey's were artificially infected with the real Nipah virus, they displayed a variety of signs and had to be euthanised between five to seven days post-inoculation.
The researchers said, “In contrast, vaccinated animals showed no signs of disease, and we were unable to detect infectious virus in all but one swab and all tissue's.”
Sarah C Gilbert, from the Jenner Institute Nuffield Department of Medicine at Oxford said, “No to limited antibodies against fusion protein or nucleoprotein IgG could be detected 42 days post infection with eal NiV, suggesting that vaccination induced a very robust protective immune response preventing extensive virus replication.”
Scientists are convinced that further research will help to understand the effects and side effects of the ChAdOx1 NiV but they believe that the Covishield-like vaccine can serve to be a potential shield for nipah virus.