THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: At a time when the state had put itself on high alert against Nipah Virus (NiV), a proposal to conduct a comprehensive study into the reasons behind the outbreak during May-June has found to be put on the back burner.
It was the proposal for an international collaborative study pitched by the Department of Wildlife Science, College of Forestry, Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) that has been shelved. The World Health Organization (WHO) had earlier come out with the warning research was needed to better understand the ecology of bats and transmission of NiV in the state.
“KAU in its individual capacity has been conducting some research into the NiV outbreak in the state that claimed 21 lives, including suspected cases,” said an officer with the Department of Wildlife Science.
“But as an international collaborative study might help to better understand the transmission of the virus, a proposal in this regard was submitted to the government. But a response is yet to come.” When asked about this Agriculture Minister V S Sunilkumar told Express, “I am ignorant about such a study. Such a proposal is yet to come to my notice.”
TheWildlifeScience Department had stated while some universities in the US the UK and Australia are most likely to associate with the said study, institutes like Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research in Bangladesh had conveyed their intention to become part of the project.
It is learnt the heavy financial commitment the state has to bear prompted the authorities concerned to adopt a lackasdaisical approach in this regard.