Futurity

Nipah virus may teach us about COVID-19 spread

Nipah virus, a disease with no vaccine, no cure, and a mortality rate of up to 70%, can teach us a lot about dealing with COVID-19, says Stephen Luby.
Bats hang from a tree, two asleep and one stretching its wings

Nipah virus may have a lot to teach us about dealing with COVID-19, Stephen Luby says.

Discovered 20 years ago, Nipah virus can spread from bats or pigs to humans. Found only in South and South East Asia so far, it kills nearly three-quarters of the people it infects.

There is no vaccine for it and no cure, and it has many strains capable of spreading from person to person, increasing the chances of a strain emerging with the ability to rapidly spread beyond the region.

Luby, a professor of infectious diseases at Stanford University, has done extensive research on Nipah and the bats that spread it in Bangladesh through their contamination of fresh date palm sap, a popular drink in the country.

Luby cowrote a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that examines the role of Pteropus medius bats and human-caused environmental factors in Nipah’s spread. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, edited the study.

Here, Luby discusses how the paper’s findings relate to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and other viruses that move from animals to humans:

The post Nipah virus may teach us about COVID-19 spread appeared first on Futurity.

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