‘How the deadly Nipah virus jumps from bats to humans found
Millennium Post Delhi|November 08, 2020
NEW DELHI: The deadly Nipah virus kills nearly 75 per cent of the people it infects, but the circumstances under which the bat species, known as the Indian flying fox, transmits the virus to humans has remained a mystery. Now, a six-year, multidisciplinary study has revealed how the Nipah virus, which claimed the lives of 17 people in Kerala in 2018, spreads among fruit bats –findings which can help predict when the pathogen may spillover to humans.

According to the research, published recently in the journal PNAS, the Nipah virus (NiV) could circulate among fruit bats, not just in places that have seen human outbreaks, but in any region where they exist. To prevent outbreaks in humans, we need to know when bats may transmit the virus, and this study provides a deep understanding of Nipah infection patterns in bats, study lead author Jonathan Epstein from the EcoHealth Alliance in the US, said.

While previous studies from Kerala, and parts of Bangladesh have shown that the Indian flying fox can transmit the virus, Epstein said there is a theoretical possibility of human infections any time of the year, wherever these bats and humans make contact.

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