Lassa fever is difficult to diagnose, and surveillance data is limited. While current disease incidence is underrated, Lassa virus infects approximately half a million people each year, and Lassa hemorrhagic fever has a mortality rate of up to 20 percent. Currently, there is no licensed vaccine available for Lassa fever.
HJFMRI’s subsidiary in Nigeria is part of a global consortium called Lassa Fever Vaccine Efficacy and Prevention for West Africa (LEAP4WA), an initiative working to advance an effective Lassa fever vaccine in the region through innovation and collaboration. As part of this team, HJFMRI works to strengthen the capacity of partnering investigational sites in Nigeria, where Lassa fever outbreaks and disease occur frequently. The ultimate goal is to prepare these sites to conduct Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials of IAVI’s Lassa fever vaccine candidate.
The trial sites in Nigeria will include the Clinical Research Center in Abuja as well as partner sites in Owo and Abakaliki, through a collaboration with the Africa Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID). These sites have been participating in EIDB Lassa epidemiology studies in anticipation of these trials.
HJFMRI supports LEAP4WA through collaborations with IAVI and the Emerging Infectious Diseases Branch (EIDB) of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. Funding for consortium research comes from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP).