Emiratis in India warned of deadly virus

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A global coalition set up a year ago to fight epidemics has struck a $25 million deal with two USA biotech companies to accelerate work on a vaccine against the brain-damaging Nipah virus that has killed 12 people in India. "We are hopeful we can put a stop to the outbreak".

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) said on Thursday that Profectus BioSciences and Emergent BioSolutions would receive up to $25 million to advance development and manufacturing of a shot for the bat-borne disease. We suspect these bats to be the cause of the outbreak. In UK, BBC and The Daily Mail had already carried the news. Earlier this month, his two sons and another relative also died due to the virus infection.

NDTV reported that the bats were found inside a government school.

Lini, who was aware about the seriousness of her illness, had scribbled an emotional last letter to Sajeesh saying, "I am nearly on the way". I do not think I can meet you. The Team has also further fine-tuned the draft guidelines, case definitions, advisory for healthcare workers, information to the general public, advisories for sample collection and transportation accordingly. "Sorry. Please raise our children well", she wrote in a letter to her husband before she died on Monday, reported the BBC.

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According to health experts, Nipah symptoms are not specific and include flu-like illness and hence can be confused with any respiratory illness.

Henk Bekedam, WHO's representative to India, said the agency is monitoring the outbreak. The teams will disseminate awareness material about the virus at primary health centres, community health centres, and taluks and district hospitals.

State National Health Mission Director Keshvendra Kumar, who reviewed the situation in the district, said "ribavirin" - a medicine that has shown to be effective against Nipah virus - has been procured by Kerala Medical Services Corporation Ltd. World Health Organization is in close contact with the teams of experts deployed to the affected areas.

There is now no vaccine or drug available for humans or animals and the main treatment is intensive support care for those who are suffering from respiratory and neurologic problems. The disease is said to be highly infectious and has an 80% mortality rate. The disease can further spread via human contact.

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