Research policy

International Consultation on Research to Combat Nipah Virus Disease

6th – 8th August 2018, New Delhi, India

International Consultation on Research to Combat Nipah Virus Disease

Background and rationale

In 2017, Nipah was declared as one of the World Health Organization’s top eight emerging pathogens. Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans. NiV was first identified during an outbreak of disease that occurred in Kampung Sungai Nipah, Malaysia in 1998. Since then about 22 outbreaks have occurred. To date, NiV virus has caused more than 600 cases of human infection in Malaysia, Singapore, India and Bangladesh. The CFR of NiV infection varies from 40% to 100% depending on whether encephalitic or other severe manifestations are noted and whether adequate healthcare facilities are available. In 2001, a geographically-distinct NiVstrain independently emerged in India as well as in Bangladesh, where human NiV outbreak events have been reported nearly every year since, with 12 outbreaks reported from January 2001 to January 2012.

Little is known about the immune response to NiV infection in humans. Also, there are no vaccines for either humans or animals. The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care.

While such condition calls for research, conducting a research in an emergency situation, such as an outbreak of disease, poses ethical challenges. In an outbreak situation, public health authorities undertake a rapid response in an effort to document the existence and magnitude of a public health problem in the community and to implement appropriate measures to address the problem. This rapid response will in some cases preclude the possibility of clearance by a research ethics committee since the time required to develop and submit a detailed research protocol and respond to any requested modifications by the committee, followed by re-review, would thwart the very purpose of the response. A full written protocol and submission to an ethics review board would frequently cause delay and consequent increase disease and death. For researchers and public health agencies, therefore, one solution is to get prepared for the research activity, with ethical clearance well in advance so that they can straight move to implementation during the outbreak.

Present workshop will help in the preparedness for research well in advance of the outbreak. This will also be the first opportunity when all the primary stakeholders of research in Nipah virus will come on the same platform and will enable the SEA Region to lead the research work and preparedness for Nipah outbreak.

Objectives of the meeting

  • To discuss research preparedness for Nipah outbreak
  • To identify potential research areas for research during Nipah outbreak
  • To draft research proposals on the identified potential research areas


Day 1: Session 1

Day 1: Session 2

Day 1: Session 3

Day 1: Session 4

Day 2: Session 1

Day 2: Session 3

Day 2: Session 4

Day 3: Session 1

Day 3: Session 2


Meeting documents