Is The Nipah Virus The Next COVID?

Credit: Unsplash, Irwan Iwe

There is no vaccination for the Nipah virus, which has a mortality rate of up to 75%. Scientists are attempting to ensure that this does not transform into the next pandemic when the planet’s focus is placed on Coronavirus. Because of the disease’s extended incubation period, an infected host has plenty of opportunities to spread it before even recognizing they’re ill. It may infect a wide range of animals, which increases the risk of it transmitting. It can be caught by direct contact or by eating contaminated food.


In 1994, horses in Brisbane’s Hendra suburb contracted an unusual illness. A disease called the Hendra virus caused 21 horses to become critically sick. The virus, that was linked back to fruit bats of the species Pteropus, then killed a vet who was caring the ill horses. 4 years after that, a similar virus identified as the Nipah virus was discovered as the cause of an outbreak amongst pig breeders in Malaysia. Once 2 million ill pigs were slaughtered, the spread was stopped in its tracks. Scientists found in 2001 that Nipah virus epidemics in people happened annually in Bangladesh, with the majority of cases being caused by people consuming bat urine-contaminated date tree sap. Nevertheless, there was no indication of human exposure.

The next pandemic?

While the world is dealing with COVID-19, a researcher who worked on the Oxford/AstraZeneca immunization cautions that yet another virus might be the future pandemic threat. It’s known as the Nipah virus, and there’s currently no treatment or vaccine licensed. Nipah presently erupts once a year in Bangladesh and more frequently in eastern India. After contracting the virus, a 12-year-old boy died in September. According to the WHO, particular bat species may pose a hazard in Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand. There is currently no treatment or vaccine for Nipah in humans or animals. Humans benefit most from supportive therapy.


Susan Kowal
Susan Kowal is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor/advisor, and health enthusiast.