LONDON - A global coalition set up to fight emerging epidemics has struck a US$31 million (S$41.9 million) deal with scientists at Japan’s University of Tokyo to speed up work on a vaccine against a brain-damaging disease caused by the Nipah virus. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) said the Tokyo University team would receive up to US$31 million to advance the development and manufacturing of a shot for the bat-borne disease. Nipah virus was first identified in 1999 during an outbreak of illness affecting pig farmers and others in close contact with pigs in Malaysia and Singapore. More than 100 people died in that outbreak, and about a million pigs were killed to try to halt its spread. Nipah is transmitted to humans via direct contact with infected bats, infected pigs or other infected people. At least 17 people were killed in an outbreak of Nipah in India last year in which 19 cases were reported – giving a case fatality rate of 90 per cent. CEPI, which was set up at the start of 2017, aims to dramatically speed up the development of vaccines against new and unknown diseases – collectively known as Disease X. “There is an… Read full this story
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