The first clinical trial participants have received doses of the ChAdOx1 NipahB vaccine at the University of Oxford.
Nipah virus is mostly found in South-East Asia that can be fatal in up to 75% of cases. Despite the first outbreaks occurring 25 years ago in Malaysia and Singapore, there are currently no approved vaccines or treatments.
Fifty-one people aged 18 to 55 will participate in the trial, which will be led by the Oxford Vaccine Group and is funded by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
Professor Brian Angus, Professor and Reader in Infectious Diseases at the Centre for Clinical Tropical Medicine and Global Health in the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Medicine, said: “Due to the high mortality rate and the nature of Nipah virus transmission, the disease is identified as a priority pandemic pathogen. This vaccine trial is an important milestone in identifying a solution that could prevent local outbreaks occurring, while also helping the world prepare for a future global pandemic.”
The University of Oxford has produced the vaccine using the ChAdOx1 platform, the same viral vector vaccine platform that was used for the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.
The project will run over the next 18 months, with further trials expected to follow in a Nipah-affected country.
Dr In-Kyu Yoon, Acting Executive Director of Vaccine Research & Development at CEPI, said: “Nipah has epidemic potential, with its fruit bat hosts found in areas home to over two billion people. This trial is a step forward in efforts to build a suite of tools to protect against this killer virus. Knowledge gained could also inform development of other Paramyxovirus countermeasures.”