By Lara Adejoro
Scientists from West Africa have said Nigeria may get a Lassa fever vaccine by 2030.
The scientists made this known after a three-day workshop to discuss and review the progress on the largest-ever Lassa fever study, ‘the Enable Lassa Research Programme’, held in Abuja.
The National Coordinator, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, Enable Study in Nigeria, Prof. Bola Adeyinka, said the study will help in developing a safe vaccine for the populace.
Adeyinka said though Nigeria is not directly involved in the development of vaccines, it contributes to the information needed for the study.
The don said, “The importance of this study is that we are contributing to the information they need, that the world needs to develop an effective vaccine. Nigeria is critical because if you look at the world, we have the highest number of Lassa fever cases worldwide.
“So if they need answers from anywhere in the world, the answer really needs to come from us, and so that’s the importance of what we’re doing here.
“Hopefully, we’ll get a vaccine before 2030. And the reason is that some vaccine candidates have been developed.
“It’s just that those vaccines need to go through what we call trials. Our trials are these studies that check how safe and how effective the vaccines are, and Nigeria is meant to be a part of this country WHO have the countries that will do this trial”.
“Once we can determine that the vaccines are safe and effective. And then we’ll have an available Lassa fever vaccine to protect the lives of many.”
Also, the Director of Epidemiology, CEPI, Gabrielle Breugelmans said efforts are ongoing towards having a licensed Lassa fever vaccine for Nigeria by 2030.
She said CEPI is working with Nigeria regulators to inform the communities about the vaccine.
On her part, the Incident Manager Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Chioma Dan-Nwafor said the research also focuses on the modes of Lassa fever transmission.
She said, “If we can better understand this that way, we will be able to implement infection prevention and control measures.
“We can’t wait for the outcome of the result of the study because that will inform clinical trials for vaccines.
“As you are aware, there’s no clear medication or drug for the treatment of Lassa fever.”
The PUNCH reports that the study is set up and funded by CEPI. The NCDC leads the Nigerian component of the study while the project is also being conducted in Benin, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.