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Wednesday, December 7th, 2022

Gilead Sciences, CDC complete effective Nipah virus treatment

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An experimental new drug from Gilead Sciences, Inc. has proven effective in treating lethal doses of Nipah virus in four African green monkeys, following testing with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Nipah virus, an emerging pathogen mainly found in Bangladesh and India, is spread by a mix of fruit bats and person-to-person contact. It is a neurological and respiratory disease with a high fatality rate with symptoms such as inflammation of the brain.

Gilead’s new treatment, remdesivir, is being developed to protect against the virus completely.

Over the course of 92 days post-infection, scientists subjected the monkeys to dosing, sampling, and observation. Remdesivir was injected 24 hours after the Nipah virus was introduced to them, then supplemented with daily doses over 12 days. Of the subjects, two gained mild respiratory symptoms that were subdued within three weeks. The other two manifested no signs of illness, and all remained healthy for the rest of the study. By contrast, four additional monkeys were infected with Nipah and given no treatment. Symptoms appeared within four days and turned fatal within eight.

While this answers the question of whether or not remdesivir works on Nipah, the question remains of how long after infection it can be used to treat animals successfully. Scientists plan to study that next. All current findings have been posted in Science Translational Medicine.