Little more than a decade ago, Nipah virus was not even a blip on the world's infectious diseases radar. But all that changed in 1999. Nipah emerged as a newly discovered pathogen in a Malaysian outbreak of viral encephalitis among pigs and pig farmers that claimed 105 human lives.
Nipah and its close relative, Hendra virus, still are somewhat obscure organisms. But their highly pathogenic nature—Nipah's human mortality rate reaches 75% and, in small outbreaks, has been 100%—has put researchers on a fast track to develop a therapeutic agent capable of treating infection with both viruses.
Voelker R. Promising Antibody Fights Lethal Viruses. JAMA. 2009;302(24):2643. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1843