- Nipah virus ( NiV) is a RNA virus belongs to family Paramyxoviradae and genus Henipavirus.
- Size: 40-600nm
- Shape: pleuromorphic
- Envelope: present
Nipah virus is a virus that recently created a lot of havoc. It is a zoonotic virus , that is it is transmitted from animals to humans. It can also be transmitted through contaminated food or by direct contact between humans.
The virus was first isolated in 1999 and is named after a village in Malaysia , Sungai Nipah.
Initial symptoms include fever, headache,drowsiness with disorientation and then mental confusion. These symptoms can progress to coma within 24 to 48 hours. The major complication that makes this disease so fatal is Encephalitis or inflammation of the brain. The disease also causes acute respiratory infection which causes difficulty in breathing.
The diagnosis of this disease is done using reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction(RT-PCR). The patients blood, urine, throat swabs and cerebrospinal fluid are used as diagnostic samples. Viral RNA can be isolated from the saliva of the person. Other diagnostic techniques like ELISA and viral culture are also used.
The speed in which the infection proceeds adds to the fatality of the disease. Animals like pig, bats have been linked with the transfer of the disease to humans.
Fruit bats/ Flying fox (family Pteropodidae and particularly species of genus Pteropus )are said to be the natural host of these viruses.The bats themselves are not infected but may infect other animals or humans. Their infected urine or fruits contaminated by them can transfer the virus to other animals such as pigs and also to humans,
Nipah outbreaks have been reported in several regions of Malaysia, India ,Bangladesh. In May 2018 an outbreak was reported in Kozhikode, Kerala. The Nipah virus infection took lives of 21 people among the 23 infected. Among the 21 deaths was a nurse who was taking care of the infected patients.
GENOME AND PROTEINS
- Single stranded negative sense RNA, 18246 bp (Malaysian isolate) and 18252 bp (bngladesh isolate)
- Genome has six transcriptional unit that six structural proteins. They are nucleocapsid (N), phosphoprotein (P), matrix protein (M), fusion protein (F), glycoprotein (G) and polymerase (L)
- Protein associated with genome: large (L) protein, phospoprotein (P)
- Viral proteins: fusion protein (F) and attachment glycoprotein protein (G)
- Phosphoprotein (P): it role as a polymerase cofactor, enhancing polymerase processivity and allowing the encapsidation of the newly synthesized viral genomes and antigenomes.
- Phosphorotein of Nipah virus has an additional role in immunosuppression: blocking interferon signaling by binding host STAT-1
The best way to prevent such infect is to be aware of the disease. To not come in direct contact with the patients, One must use high grade protective gear. Be careful while eating fruits. Do not eat bitten or fallen fruits.
Intensive care of the patients. Scientists are working on creating vaccines . One such effort is by Christopher Broder, PhD , professor of microbiology and immunology and director of the emerging infectious diseases graduate program at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU). He has been involved in the development of a vaccine to protect against the Nipah and Hendra viruses.
The vaccine mechanism works by using the G glycoprotein, found in the Nipah and Hendra viruses, which allows the virus to attach to and infect cells. According to the release, the vaccine mechanism allows antibodies to bind to the virus’ G glycoprotein, neutralizing the virus and preventing cell infection within the host. The G glycoprotein is produced in a soluble form (sG), and vaccine production does not involve a viral or infectious agent, resulting in a favorable safety profile.
It is also a single dose highly effective vaccine that stands a chance to be available in the near future.