May 24, 2018 / 10:40 AM / a year ago

Global group taps U.S. biotechs to speed work on Nipah vaccine

LONDON, May 24 (Reuters) - A global coalition set up a year ago to fight epidemics has struck a $25 million deal with two U.S. biotech companies to accelerate work on a vaccine against the brain-damaging Nipah virus that has killed at least 11 people in India.

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations said on Thursday that Profectus BioSciences and Emergent BioSolutions would receive up to $25 million to advance development and manufacturing of a shot against the bat-borne disease.

There is currently no vaccine for Nipah.

The death toll from the latest outbreak in Kerala rose to 11 on Wednesday as Indian health officials said they were checking on two suspected cases in the neighbouring state of Karnataka. (Reporting by Ben Hirschler Editing by Edmund Blair)

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