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Research begins to develop single-shot Nipah virus vaccine
“Commercial development has been limited as companies fear limited marketability due to the sporadic nature of outbreaks” – Simon Graham.
One-shot vaccine could tackle spread of the zoonotic virus.

An international team of scientists and commercial partners have begun a two-year project to develop a vaccine and companion diagnostic test to protect pigs from Nipah virus (NiV).

Led by The Pirbright Institute, the researchers will look to develop a one-shot bivalent vaccine, building on previous research which developed a two-shot immunisation regime.

The project, which has received funding from the UK government, will also involve researchers from the Friedrich Loeffler Institute in Germany and three UK companies: EnsiliTech, Global Access Diagnostics and BioVacc Consulting.

First discovered in 1999, NiV is a zoonotic virus that is carried by fruit bats and has caused outbreaks among pigs and humans in Southeast Asia. Pigs act as an amplifying host, allowing the virus to spread more easily to humans. The virus is on the World Health Organization’s priority pathogen list.

In humans, NiV can cause fatal encephalitis. An outbreak in Malaysia in 1998-99 resulted in more than 100 people dying and nearly half of the country’s pig population being culled as a control measure. In the past year, there have been fatal human cases in Bangladesh and India.

Simon Graham, who is leading the research, said: “Despite the threat NiV poses, no vaccines are available. Commercial development has been limited as companies fear limited marketability due to the sporadic nature of outbreaks.

“To address this gap, the consortium aims to develop a vaccine for pigs which could be deployed in response to an outbreak situation, or routinely used to reduce the risk of NiV outbreaks occurring.”

Image © Shutterstock

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Reporting service for dead wild birds updated

News Story 1
 The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has updated its online reporting service for dead wild birds.

The new version allows those reporting a dead bird to drop a pin on a map when reporting the location. It also includes a wider range of wild bird species groups to select from when describing the bird.

The online service, which helps APHA to monitor the spread of diseases such as avian influenza, can be accessed here

Click here for more...
News Shorts
NI chief vet urges bluetongue vigilance

Northern Ireland's chief veterinary officer (CVO) has urged farmers to be vigilant for signs of bluetongue, after the Animal and Plant Health Agency warned there was a very high probability of further cases in Great Britain.

There have been 126 confirmed cases of bluetongue virus serotype 3 in England since November 2023, with no cases reported in Northern Ireland. The movement of live ruminants from Great Britain to Northern Ireland is currently suspended.

According to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the virus is most likely to enter Northern Ireland through infected animals or germplasm (semen or ova) being imported.

Brian Dooher, Northern Ireland's CVO, said: "Surveillance for this disease within Northern Ireland has been increased to assist with detection at the earliest opportunity which will facilitate more effective control measures."

Farmers should report any suspicions of the disease to their private veterinary practitioner, the DAERA Helpline on 0300 200 7840 or their local DAERA Direct Veterinary Office.