Kopar Khairane
National

Top Epidemiologist: B’desh Strain of the Nipah Virus Kills 9 Out of 10 Like ‘Crime Thriller’

<p>According to the nation’s top epidemiologist Dr. Raman Gangakhedkar, the Bangladesh strain of the Nipah virus causes breathlessness and kills nine out of ten infected people. He cautioned that it is crucial to identify the virus’s origin in order to stop it from spreading.</p>
<p>Former Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) chief of epidemiology and communicable diseases Gangakhedkar oversaw the nation’s response to Kerala’s past three Nipah virus outbreaks.<img decoding=”async” class=”alignnone wp-image-185883″ src=”https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/theindiaprint.com-a-student-from-nit-silchar-commits-suicide-40-people-are-hurt-in-a-police-lathi-ch.jpg” alt=”theindiaprint.com a student from nit silchar commits suicide 40 people are hurt in a police lathi ch” width=”1319″ height=”988″ srcset=”https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/theindiaprint.com-a-student-from-nit-silchar-commits-suicide-40-people-are-hurt-in-a-police-lathi-ch.jpg 259w, https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/theindiaprint.com-a-student-from-nit-silchar-commits-suicide-40-people-are-hurt-in-a-police-lathi-ch-150×112.jpg 150w” sizes=”(max-width: 1319px) 100vw, 1319px” title=”Top Epidemiologist: B'desh Strain of the Nipah Virus Kills 9 Out of 10 Like 'Crime Thriller' 6″></p>
<p>Finding the index patient, determining the source of the Nipah virus, testing all nearby animals, mobilizing the community, and maintaining medical aid readiness are top objectives, he added.</p>
<p>The state of Kerala’s Nipah cases were of the Bangladesh strain, according to a statement made by Veena George, the state’s minister of health, on September 13.</p>
<p>According to Gangakhedkar, who was speaking to News18, the circulating strain is known to induce respiratory distress syndrome, which puts patients on ventilators and causes them to feel out of breath among its earliest symptoms.</p>
<p>“The Bangladesh strain is renowned for greater case fatality rates or fatalities, while the Malaysian strain is recognized for showing neurological signs… About nine out of every ten infected persons would die, he said, adding that the initial outbreak’s 23 infected patients had an 89% mortality rate.</p>
<p>‘CRIME THRILLER’ NIPAH MYSTERY</p>
<p>In Gangakhedkar’s opinion, unraveling the mystery of the Nipah virus – including contacting the index patient, locating the virus’s origin, connecting the events linking origin to the index patient, and tracing everyone in contact with the index patient – is similar to watching a “crime thriller” unfold. Gangakhedkar represented India’s top medical research agency during the government briefings on Covid-19.</p>
<p>“It’s a jigsaw puzzle,” he said, remembering how, in 2018, he and his team mates cracked the Nipah riddle in only 15 days.</p>
<p>A group of experts discovered in May 2018 that the index patient had come into touch with fruit bats while cleaning the well at his home in a Keralan hamlet.</p>
<p>“Bats visit Kerala’s orchards to devour the fruits there. The outbreaks in 2018 and 2019 occurred in May, which provided a hint that they travel to consume mangoes in the summer. As a result, it was advised to wash fruits before eating them or to avoid touching fruits that had been bit.</p>
<p>Another epidemic occurred in September 2021. The Covid-19 pandemic’s experience with quarantine and isolation, however, was helpful in managing Nipah since there was a higher degree of public cooperation with regards to using masks and adhering to safety precautions.</p>
<p>Given that the epidemic has returned a second time in September, Gangakhedkar emphasized the need to find new contacts at this time.</p>
<p>Considering that more than 2,000 persons were tracked and traced in only three days in 2018, Gangakhedkar remarked, “Contact-tracing should be very heavy.”</p>
<p>WHY KERALA</p>
<p>Nine states and one Union Territory have shown signs of the Nipah virus circulation in the bat population, according to an ongoing national study by the Pune-based ICMR’s National Institute of Virology (ICMR-NIV).</p>
<p>The survey was finished up in 14 states and two Union Territories as of July. In bats from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, and the Union Territory of Pondicherry, antibodies to the Nipah virus were discovered.</p>
<p>According to Gangakhedkar, who cited the same research, “There is a potential that minor epidemics occur in other states but go unreported. We need to improve our surveillance system.</p>
<p>He suggested that India follow Bangladesh’s lead in combating the virus by using mass mobilization and public education.</p>
<p>In addition to numerous other protective measures, they have begun covering palm trees to prevent bats from building their nests there.</p>
<p>The expert in his seventies said that Kerala is special and has well-tuned gear to manage such outbreaks. In areas where ordinary people take community mobilization and sensitization seriously, the state’s health infrastructure is likewise in good shape.</p>
<p>THE MEDICINE</p>
<p>In order to get additional monoclonal antibody doses to fight the Nipah virus, India has made contact with Australia. The ICMR’s director, Dr. Rajiv Bahl, has said that India would shortly get an extra 20 doses.</p>
<p>The monoclonal antibody was first ordered in 2018 and has since successfully completed its phase-one study and been given to a total of 14 people internationally.</p>
<p>“When the initial epidemic occurred, we purchased these goods. The infection had ended by the time they got to India, however.</p>
<p>The Indian authorities are now using the remaining dosages.</p>
<p>According to Gangakhedkar, India and the US-Australia were already in discussions in 2021 to manufacture the monoclonal antibodies that would likely be utilized to treat Nipah.</p>
<p>“This treatment is being developed as part of a collaborative US-Australian research collaboration. We asked for the manufacture of these antibodies to begin in India for non-commercial uses,” he added, adding that the initiative was put on hold after the Covid-19 outbreak.</p>
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