The ICMR said it is planning to start work on a vaccine for the Nipah virus disease.
The mortality rate among those infected with the Nipah virus is much higher compared to those infected with Covid, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) chief Dr Rajiv Bahl said on Friday.
According to Dr Bahl, the Nipah virus has a mortality rate between 40-70 per cent compared to Covid's 2-3 per cent.
A new case of Nipah virus was confirmed in Kerala's Kozhikode yesterday, bringing the total number of people infected in the state to six. Two of the earlier cases have been fatal.
Amid the rise in cases in Kerala, India has called on Australia to supply 20 more doses of monoclonal antibody to treat Nipah virus infections
The ICMR, in light of the recurring Nipah virus outbreaks in the southern state and its high mortality rate compared to Covid, said it is planning to start work on developing a vaccine against the viral disease.
"We got some doses of monoclonal antibody from Australia in 2018. Currently, the doses are available for only 10 patients," DrBahl said as quoted by news agency PTI.
Dr Bahl said 14 people who contracted the Nipah virus outside of India have made a full recovery after receiving monoclonal antibody treatment.
"Only phase 1 trial to establish the safety of the medicine has been done outside. Efficacy trials have not been done. It can only given as compassionate use medicine," he said.
In view of the rising cases, all educational institutions in Kozhikode will be closed for a week starting today.
Kerala health minister Veena George said on Friday that the contact list of Nipah virus patients in Kerala has grown to 1,080. Of these, 327 are healthcare workers.