CEPI signs agreement for development of vaccine against Nipah
The Nipah virus outbreak in Kozhikode district has prompted senior doctors to call for the inclusion of the epidemiology of this rare disease in the revised MBBS syllabus.
They pointed out that Nipah, along with other vector-borne diseases, was on the rise in many States, especially Kerala where malaria, which had been reportedly eradicated in the late Sixties, were staging a comeback.
“The syllabus of the MBBS course is being revised by the Medial Council of India ( MCI) after a long time,” said M.R. Chandran, former Director of Medical Education and Principal of the Amala Institute of Medical Sciences, Thrissur. “Nipah can be a case study and it should be included in the undergraduate course,” he said.
Dr. Chandran said that many senior professors had not heard of the Nipah virus before the Kozhikode outbreak and it was from the media and the World Health Organization website that they got an idea of the disease. “The panic could have been mitigated during the initial stage of the outbreak had we known about this disease,” he said.
Already the MCI, it is learnt, has embarked on plans to study the revision and upgrade of the existing Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 1997. The revision will be implemented so as to focus on the changing conditions and importance of health care and rural health care and community orientation. The new curriculum of MBBS that is likely to be prepared later this year or next year would have more modules on control of vector-borne diseases and non-communicable diseases as well.
Besides, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) will collaborate with Profectus BioSciences, Inc. and Emergent BioSolutions Inc. to advance the development and manufacture of a vaccine against the Nipah virus. A $25-million agreement has been signed for the purpose.
However V.R. Rajendran, Principal , Kozhikode Government Medical College, said the introduction of emerging diseases and the importance of microbiology in the syllabus for MBBS course would certainly benefit the students and society at large.