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Expert welcomes Lassa fever vaccine trial in Nigeria

by Muhammad Sani

By Haruna Gimba

A member of the National Committee on the Control of Lassa fever, Professor Dennis Agbonlahor, said the trials of newly developed Lassa virus vaccine in the country is a welcome idea.

Professor Agbonlahor stated this while presenting a paper titled ‘Combating Lassa fever: A National Health Challenge’, at the University of Benin, Edo state.

He said the vaccine developed by a combined team from the United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases and the Public Health Agencies of Canada, is a promising vaccine for controlling Lassa fever.

He said: “This live and harmless vaccine, which is wrapped in a strain of vaccinia virus, contains a protein produced by the Lassa virus. Once injected into the body, the presence of the Lassa protein stimulates a protective response from the immune system.

“The humans that will take it as a vaccine will be protected and antibodies will be developed that will protect the persons against future effect of Lassa virus if infected.”

He also commended the Federal Government for creating more awareness about the disease and called for sustenance of the awareness initiative.

Meanwhile, the Director of Disease Control in Edo state Ministry of Health, Dr Osamwonyi Irowa, said the state government had not relented on its effort to make the state a Lassa virus-free state.

He said a lot of structures have been put in place to combat the virus across the 18 local government areas of the state.

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