Bangladesh researchers: Transfer of immunity against Nipah virus from mother to child confirmed for the first time


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Recently, a new discovery was made by ICDDR, b (formerly known as the International Center for diarrhea Disease Research, Bangladesh) scientists and partners publishing in the journal Tropical Medicine and Infectious Diseases Transmission of humoral immunity against Nipah virus (NiV) from mother to newborn confirmed for the first time. This paper described new information about the vertical transfer of immunogenic properties.

Nipah virus

According to WHO, the death rate due to NiV is estimated at 40% to 75% and in Bangladesh it is about 71%. Survivors of nickel infection suffer from severe neurological complications. Furthermore, there is a high probability that these symptoms will gradually worsen as the survivor becomes pregnant and approaches term.

In January 2020, a five-year-old girl and her mother from Faridpur District, Bangladesh, were infected with NiV. Both had a history of consumption of raw date palm sap and were diagnosed as confirmed NiV cases. Unfortunately, the daughter died, and the mother survived with a significant residual neurological disability. She was born in November 2021 and underwent comprehensive prenatal monitoring by the National Nipah Watch. A healthy male infant was born in August 2022. As part of the follow-up, samples were collected and tested for nickel infection at the reference laboratory to rule out vertical transmission. Although the test was negative for anti-Nipah IgM and PCR for NiV, a high titer of anti-Nipah IgG was observed. Transmission of humoral immunity against nickel from mother to neonate has been confirmed for the first time.

Study principal investigator Dr. Syed Moinuddin Satir, Assistant Scientist and Deputy Project Coordinator, Emerging Infections, Division of Infectious Diseases at icddr, b said: “To the best of our knowledge, this finding is the first report of vertical transmission of NiV-specific immunogenic properties. It is It warrants further exploration of its virus-neutralizing efficacy and ability to protect newborns. This will also be a reference for vaccine recommendations for pregnant women and young women against Nipah virus.”

To warn people against consuming raw palm sap, Prof. Dr. Tahmina Shirin, Director of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), said, “Recently, we notice a deep interest among people to consume raw palm sap and also participate in promoting this culture through means “Social communication. People indulge in it without knowing the havoc it can make. Even if someone says they took precautions while collecting raw date palm juice, we urge everyone not to drink raw date palm juice because it is still not safe.”

Dr. Tahmeed Ahmed, Executive Director at ICDDR, appreciated the collaborative effort and said, “ICDDR, B in partnership with the Government of Bangladesh is operating the world’s longest Nipah virus surveillance to detect Nipah virus outbreaks, understand disease transmission, and find new knowledge and insights that can help She is helping develop treatments and vaccines against this deadly infection. The effort has been rewarding, and I hope we will soon have effective preventive measures and treatments, and be able to save lives.”

NiV is a zoonotic virus (transmitted from animals to humans) and can also be transmitted through foods contaminated with animals or directly between people. Fruit bats of the genus Pteropus are their natural reservoir, and NiV, a deadly pathogen emerging at present. In Bangladesh, the virus was first reported in 2001, and since then, NiV has become endemic in this densely populated country, with confirmed cases reported almost every year. As of January 2023, a total of 331 cases of nickel infection have been reported, and 236 patients have died.

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