Lassa virus has the potential to cause naturally occurring outbreaks of fatal hemorrhagic fever and also poses a threat of being weaponized. EIDB is focused on the development of preventive and therapeutic Lassa virus countermeasures—especially in connection with its biosurveillance networks—to promote the aims of the Global Health Security Agenda and U.S. National Security Strategy.
EIDB scientists are researching structural immunogen and monocolonal antibody countermeasures against Lassa fever. EIDB is working towards stabilizing variants for the surface glycoprotien of Lassa virus, Machupo and other arenaviruses. The surface glycoprotien complex is the main target for antibody-based therapeutics and vaccine design. EIDB labs have characterized a novel site of vulnerability on the GP1 domain.
EIDB has launched a study of Lassa fever epidemiology in Southern Nigeria to provide information on the clinical course, immune response and transmission dynamics of the virus, which may inform review of guidelines for disease management and future vaccine research and development. A planned epidemiological study will aim to determine the prevalence of Lassa fever virus in Abuja and Lagos, Nigeria, and identify related risk factors. The findings of this study will provide information that will be useful for future Lassa vaccine studies.