The Health Commissioner of Karnataka, D. Randeep, on Tuesday disclosed that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is working on a new vaccine for the Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD). The vaccine will be available within nine months.
The Health Commissioner announced that, in response to the state's request, the ICMR had agreed to work on creating a vaccine within the next seven to nine months. A seed fund of Rs. 10 crore has been allocated for this purpose.
The Health Minister of Karnataka, Dinesh Gundurao stated that the Kyasanur forest disease is dominant in only a few districts and after the recent incident of deaths, the health commissioner visited Shivamogga to ensure immediate treatment.
The Health Minister also said the vaccine that was previously developed for Kyasanur forest disease is of no use and hence solicited the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for a new vaccine. He also added that only a few people are infected by the Kyasanur forest disease (KFD), and not many institutes are depicting interest in the development of a vaccine for KFD. Currently, a Hyderabad-based company is working on it.
The health minister has requested the people in the region when they witness any symptoms of the KFD, seek medical assistance immediately.
Kyasanur Forest Disease is caused by the Kyasanur Forest Disease Virus (KFDV), a part of the virus Flaviviridae. The disease was first identified in 1957 when it was isolated from a sick monkey in the Kyasanur forest in Karnataka state, India. Hard ticks are the reservoir of the KFD virus and once infected, remain for life. The common hosts of the virus are rodents, shrews, and monkeys after being bitten by an infected tick. Humans may be infected with the virus after a tick bite or contact with an infected animal.
(Input from various sources)