Truenat Test : To Detect Nipah
Kerala has been accorded sanction by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) to use Truenat test to diagnose Nipah.
- Truenat test uses a portable, smart chip-based, battery-operated RT-PCR (Reverse Transcriptase-Polymerase Chain reaction) kit to detect the presence of the virus in a sample.
- Truenat is the first kit in India to receive Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for conducting Nipah virus tests.
- Truenat can be used in hospitals that have level 2 biosafety facilities, where there are certain strict protocols in place to prevent contamination of samples.
- Truenat can help conduct tests faster, detect if there is an outbreak, and set preventive measures faster.
- It is a zoonotic virus (it is transmitted from animals to humans).
- The organism that causes Nipah Virus encephalitis is an RNA or Ribonucleic acid virus of the family Paramyxoviridae, genus Henipavirus, and is closely related to Hendra virus.
- Hendra virus (HeV) infection is a rare emerging zoonosis that causes severe and often fatal diseases in both infected horses and humans.
- It first broke out in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998 and 1999.
- The disease is named after a village in Malaysia, Sungai Nipah, where it was first detected.
- It first appeared in domestic pigs and has been found among several species of domestic animals including dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep.
- The disease spreads through fruit bats or ‘flying foxes,’ of the genus Pteropus, who are natural reservoir hosts of the Nipah and Hendra viruses.
- The virus is present in bat urine and potentially, bat faeces, saliva, and birthing fluids.
- The human infection presents as an encephalitic syndrome marked by fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation, mental confusion, coma, and potentially death.