Hen­dra vac­cine of­fers new hope

Central and North Burnett Times - - RURAL UPDATE -

CLIN­I­CAL tri­als will begin this month into a treat­ment for the deadly Hen­dra virus which is spread from bats to horses to hu­mans.

The virus has al­ready claimed the lives of four Queens­lan­ders but ve­teri­nary nurse Natalie Beohm is one of the for­tu­nate ones.

Ms Beohm sur­vived af­ter con­tract­ing the Hen­dra virus in 2008 but her col­league, vet Ben Duneen trag­i­cally died.

Ms Beohm, who was in Mun­dub­bera to share her story, said doc­tors told her she would not walk out of hos­pi­tal af­ter she be­came in­fected.

“It was like I had a stroke,” she said. “It’s taken a lot. It’s prob­a­bly taken my whole life.”

The virus con­tin­ues to im­pact Ms Beohm but there is some hope for her re­cov­ery with Princess Alexan­dra Hos­pi­tal Hen­dra virus spe­cial­ist Ge­of­frey Play­ford an­nounc­ing last week that 11 peo­ple had been pro­vided an an­ti­body.

“Based on our re­search to date we ex­pect the mon­o­clonal an­ti­body to pre­vent a per­son be­com­ing in­fected fol­low­ing con­tact with an in­fected horse and to im­prove their chances of sur­vival if they have al­ready be­come in­fected,” he said.

Ms Beohm said she was un­sure if the treat­ment would aid her.

The an­ti­body is for peo­ple who have been ex­posed but have not yet de­vel­oped the virus. Tests are still be­ing car­ried out to de­ter­mine whether it will as­sist those al­ready in­fected.


HEN­DRA: Mun­dub­bera vet Anja Sch­midt (left) and Hen­dra virus sur­vivor Natalie Beohm get be­hind the vac­ci­na­tion drive in the North Bur­nett.

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