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Current Affairs

Antibodies against Nipah virus in Mahabaleshwar cave bats

Date: 23 June 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

A study by Indian Council of Medical Research and National Institute of Virology has discovered anti-bodies against the Nipah virus in some bats of Mahabaleshwar.

 

Background

The researchers were studying the prevalence of Nipah virus in wild species such as bats. They stumbled upon the discovery in a cave near the popular hill station.

 

Details

  • The Nipah Virus (NiV) is considered by WHO as one of the top-10 priority pathogen that has the potential to create serious health hazards.

  • The Nipah outbreak was firstly observed in West Bengal in 2001, followed by Assam and also regions surrounding the Bangladesh border.

  • The latest such outbreak took place in Kozhikode district of Kerala in 2019. It is assumed that India is one of the hotspots for NiV outbreak among South Asian countries.

 

Disease source

  • Fruit bats, also known as Pteropus medius bats, are the biggest reservoir for NiV virus in India as majority of virus related antibodies were present in these species.

  • The latest study tried to identify the virus in other species of bats such as Pipistrellus Pipistrellus and Rousettus leschenaultii of Maharashtra.

 

The research

  • Researchers trapped two varieties of bats from Mahabaleshwar caves and their rectal, throat and blood samples were collected.

  • The RNA separated from the samples showed the presence of Anti-NiV IgG antibodies. This was first such study.

 

Outcome

The study involved only few bats and it is difficult to ascertain if the virus may be prevalent actively among the species.