Headline Health News Nigeria

Researchers set to develop Lassa fever vaccine

The West African sub-region is to develop a vaccine for Lassa fever before year 2030.

The National Coordinator, The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Enable Study Nigeria, Professor Bola Olayinka stated this at a workshop on Lassa fever study in Abuja.

Speaking with journalists at the end of the workshop, Professor Olayinka noted that Nigeria was harboring the highest number of Lassa fever cases globally and is key to the development of the vaccine because it is contributing to the information the world needed to develop the vaccine.

Director of Epidemiology, CEPI, Gabrielle Breugelmans, announced that they were working towards having a license Lassa fever vaccine for Nigeria by 2030

According to Gabrielle Breugelmans, one critical component of the “Enable Study” was not just development of vaccine, but deployment and acceptability of those vaccines by the community.

‘’Enable Study “is also strengthening local capacities and manufacturers for African countries to be self-reliant in vaccine production’’, she said.

Incident Manager Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Chioma Dan Nwafor, expressed the belief that through the study, the West Africa sub-region could also produce a drug for Lassa fever.

For the Chairman, Presidential Steering Committee for West Africa, “Enable Study’’, Mr. N’Faly Magassouba, the burden of Lassa fever in the sub-region was huge and needed proactive approach.

The workshop was hosted by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) for scientists from all countries affected by Lassa in the West African Sub-Region, such as Nigeria, Benin, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The aim is to share progress, challenges and insights from their work on the largest ever Lassa fever study, known as the “Enable Lassa Research Programme”.

Launched in late 2020, “Enable” aims to provide a better understanding of the true Lassa disease burden across West Africa—where there are regular outbreaks—and to guide the development of vaccines against this 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.

Reporting by Maureen Eke; Editing by Annabel Nwachukwu