Transfer of Nipah Virus Treatment Amid an Outbreak in India

In May 2018, Kerala State in India experienced its first outbreak of the deadly Nipah virus. Due to the high fatality rate of Nipah virus (typically over 75 percent), the Indian Department of Health sought assistance, through the Uniformed Services University (USU), obtaining the experimental treatment, m102.4 human monoclonal antibody, to prevent further deaths. m102.4 is the only known existing treatment for humans exposed to and infected with the deadly Nipah virus and the closely related Hendra virus.

The m102.4 antibody was developed in the laboratory of Dr. Christopher Broder at USU, in conjunction with colleagues formerly at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Broder, contacted by individuals in India for the m102.4 treatment, connected all parties involved in the transfer of this technology, as well as remained involved in discussions throughout the process. Dr. Mark Scher at The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. (HJF), through the joint (USU-HJF) Office of Technology Transfer, received the official request from the Indian Department of Health, via Dr. Jeanette Young, Chief Health Officer of the Queensland Australia Government (Queensland Health), who previously worked with HJF and USU for transfer of the m102.4 for compassionate use in humans in Australia due to Hendra virus infections or exposures. Dr. Martina Jones of the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology of the University of Queensland (which produced and stockpiled the Australian supply of good manufacturing practice-produced m102.4) acted quickly to ensure that the agreement with the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) for the physical transfer was executed. Balram Bhargava, Secretary of the Indian Department of Health, acted on behalf of the government of India and provided the assurances required for the transfer to ICMR.

Recognizing the critical need and high priority of the request in order to save lives, the multiple international parties worked together to rapidly draft and execute the multiple letters of agreement and a material transfer agreement permitting transfer and use of the m102.4 in the Kerala outbreak, as well as permitting stockpiling for future outbreaks. All of these agreements were executed in seven days, and the m102.4 material arrived in India seven days later. Although the m102.4 was not administered in the May 2018 outbreak, ICMR now has the m102.4 on hand for the next outbreak. In addition, this transfer allowed the stockpiling of m102.4 for compassionate use in a short time frame and for use in a proposed clinical trial in Southeast Asia, leading to the development of m102.4 as an approved therapy for Nipah and Hendra virus infections.

Contact: Dr. Mark Scher, (240) 694-2064, mscher@hjf.org

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