The work of a group of Hungarian virologists could cease the spread of a deadly virus. The team is currently in Bangladesh to test a new method of controlling the dissemination of the Nipah virus.
Since the coronavirus outbreak escalated into a global pandemic sometime around early spring of 2020, the whole world has become aware that we could face major viral outbreaks at any time.
The Nipah virus is a bat-borne virus that causes severe symptoms in both animals and humans and has a high mortality rate of up to 70 per cent.
The virus was first isolated in 1999 in Malaysia after causing the death of over 100 thousand people, 24 reported. According to the news portal, at that time, pig farming had become very popular, and thus large areas of natural forests were cleared to accommodate pigsties.
This trend has forced the large, almost 1-metre wingspan bats to search for new places since most of their natural habitat had been destroyed. The animals took shelter on the fruit trees planted for the pigs and have soon infected the livestock and indirectly humans.
This series of events inspired the movie Contagion, the portal says.
24 highlights that the Nipah virus residing in bats is on the World Health Organisation’s priority disease list which includes such heavy hitters as Ebola or the present pandemic-causing SARS-CoV-2, aka COVID-19.
The Hungarian virologists of the University of Pécs are working on researching the Nipah virus in the hope of being able to both control and combat it through the development of vaccines that could save thousands of people.
However, the work of Dr. Gábor Kemenesi and Endre Tóth Gábor is not easy. They have been working in Bangladesh since the end of December, both in a Hungarian-designed mobile laboratory and on the field.
24 reports that their work includes the collection of the droppings and urine of the large-sized bats, which would be a terrifying experience in itself for many, not to mention the dangers of contracting the disease from the animals.
The Hungarian virologists point out the fact that the Nipah is not as contagious as the current coronavirus. There have been only small clusters of infection or local epidemics, nothing near pandemic-size like in the case of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
At first, the Nipah virus causes common and mild symptoms such as fever, headache or sore throat which are followed by vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness and finally neuroinflammation. Unfortunately, the death rate is approximately 70 per cent.
The team of Hungarian scientists have successfully localised the virus within three hours and have discovered the genome sequence of the Nipah virus within six hours thanks to the Hungarian-designed mobile laboratory.
The work of the Hungarian team will help create a vaccine or other forms of prevention which will potentially save thousands of people.
Source: 24.hu, Daily News Hungary