Nipah virus is a deadly virus that can be transmitted from animals to humans. In humans, it causes a range of illnesses from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory illness and fatal encephalitis. The virus can also cause severe disease in animals such as pigs, resulting in significant economic losses for farmers. There are currently no drugs or vaccines for Nipah virus infection in both human and pigs.
Since vaccines against porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus are widely used, BIOTEC-NSTDA embarked on the development of a bivalent PRRS/Nipah virus vaccine as a strategy to prevent transmission from pigs to human and devastating impact on Thai swine industry.
BIOTEC senior researcher Dr. Nanchaya Wanasen revealed that she had been working with Prof. Simon Graham and Dr. Rebecca McLean from the Pirbright Institute in the UK in developing a recombinant live attenuated PRRSV vaccine expressing the Nipah virus protective antigen as a bivalent vaccine. The prototype bivalent vaccine is currently undergoing immunogenicity evaluation in the UK. This project receives financial and technical support from Transnational Access Activities (TNA): Veterinary Biocontained Facility Network (VetBioNet) that enables access to high containment laboratory at the Animal and Plant Health Agency in the UK necessary to carry out research work involving dangerous infectious pathogens and genetically engineered organisms.