Hendra vaccine offers new hope
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.