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PRESS RELEASE - 24 Apr 2020

Indo-Japan team of scientists throw a novel hypothesis of cross protection for COVID-19 by encephalitis vaccination

Opinion article published in the Peer Reviewed Journal, Archives of Academic Emergency Medicine

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Chennai, India 23rd April, 2020: Countries where vaccination against Japanese Encephalitis (JE) or Tick Borne Encephalitis (TBE) is prevalent such as China, Japan and Austria have lower death rates due to COVID-19 compared to those which don’t have these vaccines (USA, Spain, Italy etc) in their routine immunization schedule. In China, the epicentre of the outbreak has only 2.3% death rate compared to 7.3% in Italy and 10.41% in Spain. Loss of lives are very high in Spain (20,852) and Italy (24,114) while their neighbor Austria where JE vaccine and/or TBE vaccine is included in national immunization schedule has had lesser deaths (463).

This evaluation led to the hypothesis that immune cross protection conferred by the JE or TBE vaccine could help in fighting the COVID-19 infection by Dr. Shojiro Katoh of Edogawa Evolutionary Laboratory of Science (EELS), Tokyo, Japan who published this along with their collaborators, Nichi-In Centre for Regenerative Medicine (NCRM), India in the PubMed Indexed peer reviewed journal  Archives of Academic Emergency Medicine (http://journals.sbmu.ac.ir/aaem/index.php/AAEM/article/view/683/793).

Dr. Katoh says that since we are not sure when a drug that can cure or a vaccine that can prevent COVID-19 can be definitely available, such hypothesis will help researchers around the world to take cues and develop novel strategies which could hasten the process of developing worthy solutions to equip humanity in the fight against this deadly pandemic.  The inter-disciplinary team of Nichi-In,  in collaboration with clinicians and scientists from Japan and India have been  already working on biomaterials based viral replication cum drug discovery platforms (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26470963), food supplements to enhance immunity to fight such viral infections and help in lifestyle diseases (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24409973) and autologous Natural Killer cells (NK cells) based immunotherapy for cancer & viral infections (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25313776).



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*"Nichi" stands for Japan and "In" stands for India. This institute started on an Indo-Japan collaboration now has spreaded further with global alliances
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