Another potential global pandemic, Nipah virus re-emerges in China-Report
London, Jan. 31, 2021 (AltAfrica)-Thr re-emergence of the Nipah virus in China, with a fatality rate of up to 75 percent, could potentially be the next big pandemic risk with giant pharmaceutical companies unprepared while currently focusing COVID-19, according to a report by the Access to Medicine Foundation.
Nipah virus is a rare virus spread by fruit bats, which can cause flu-like symptoms and brain damage. It first emerge in southern India two years ago
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There is no vaccine for the Nipah virus. It can cause encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, the World Health Organization says. The usual treatment is supportive care.
“Nipah virus is another emerging infectious disease that causes great concern. Nipah virus could blow any moment. The next pandemic could be a drug-resistant infection,” The Guardian quoted Jayasree K Iyer, the executive director of the Netherlands-based Access to Medicine Foundation, as saying.
An outbreak of the Nipah virus in India’s southern state Kerala in 2018 claimed 17 lives.
At the time, countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates temporarily banned frozen and processed fruit and vegetable imports from Kerala as a result of the outbreak there.
At the time, health officials believed that Nipah outbreaks in Bangladesh and India were perhaps associated with the drinking of date palm juice.
The 2021 Access to Medicine Index report takes a look at the actions of 20 of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies to make medicines, vaccines and diagnostics more accessible. It found that research and development for COVID-19 had increased in the past year but that other pandemic risks have so far gone unaddressed.
“This Index was prepared during the worst public health crisis in a century – which has revealed the chronic inequalities of access to medicine like never before.
Yet, after years of encouraging access planning, we are now seeing a strategic shift in this direction. This could radically change how fast access to new products is achieved – if company leadership is determined to ensure people living in low- and middle-income countries are not last in line,” the report quoted Iyer as saying.