Researchers brainstorm on progress on Lassa fever
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control & Prevention (NCDC) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), are hosting a workshop in the country for scientists from across the West Africa sub-region.
The workshop will discuss the progress of research known as “the Enable Lassa Research Programme”, the largest ever Lassa fever study size from the sub-region.
Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, Director-General, NCDC, said this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria, on Saturday in Abuja.
Adetifa said that the 3-day workshop brought together experts from Nigeria, Benin, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, all countries affected by Lassa fever to share progress, challenges and insights from their works.
He said, ”this was set up and funded by CEPI.
Enable programme aims to provide a more detailed description of the epidemiology of Lassa fever in the region.
Adetifa said that the agency was leading the Nigerian component of the study, while the project was also being conducted in Benin, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
“Lassa fever is typically spread to humans by infected rodents, with severe cases potentially resulting in a hemorrhagic fever associated with a high risk of death.
“It is recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO), as a disease with epidemic potential.
“There are no vaccines for Lassa fever currently approved for human use, “ he explained.
NAN recalls that the research was launched in 2020, while Enable aims to provide a better understanding of the true Lassa disease burden across West Africa.
There are regular outbreaks of the disease in the sub-region and the programme guides the development of vaccines against the epidemic threat.
The Enable programme has been set up and funded by CEPI, which is established as one of the largest global funders of Lassa fever research.
First identified over fifty years ago, Lassa fever is typically spread when a person comes into contact with the body fluids of the infected rodent species, Mastomys natalensis, otherwise known as the Natal multimammate mouse or rat.
Same disease can also be contacted through food and other materials contaminated by its urine, faeces and saliva.