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The Pirbright Institute has been awarded a £2.36 million grant from Innovate UK to create a vaccine for pigs against the dangerous zoonotic Nipah virus (NiV).
Scientists from Pirbright will lead an international team, including partners from Australia, Malaysia and India, in developing a prototype vaccine to control NiV outbreaks.
NiV’s natural reservoir is bats, but pigs can act as an amplifying host by increasing the virus’ ability to infect people with a severe and often fatal neurological disease. Transmission of NiV to people may occur after direct contact with infected bats, infected pigs, or from other NiV-infected people.
An outbreak in 1998 in Malaysia and Singapore caused mild disease in pigs but led to nearly 300 cases of Nipah infection in people and more than 100 reported deaths.
In response, Malaysia culled 1.1 million animals, equal to 45 per cent of its pig population, costing the economy more than US $650 million and the loss of 36,000 jobs.
Simon Graham, leader of the porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome immunology group at …
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