IRRUA – Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH) Irrua, Edo state has confirmed Lassa fever vaccine will soon be tried on humans, after it successful trial on animals.
The chief medical director, Prof Sylvanus Okogbenin confirmed this on Tuesday, during a chat with The Nigerian Observer in his office.
According to Prof. Okogbenin, “we are strongly working with both local and international partners, as we will soon be going into vaccine trials which has been tried in animals and it has been found to be very effective.
“It is now time to try them in humans. we have gone through Phase II trial, we are about to enter Phase II trial”.
ISTH, which is the only medical center for Lassa fever diagnosis and treatment in Nigeria, Okogbenin explained is currently working with its partners to ensure that initial studies for the trial begins by 2020.
The National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) earlier in the year presented an award for Lassa Fever Research Leadership to ISTH, which was widely attributed to the drastic reduction of the disease mortality rate in the country from 40 to 10 percent in the last 8 years.
Though, there is no vaccine yet for Lassa arena virus that causes Lassa fever, the CMD however projected “that in less than 10 years there will be vaccine for the virus that can put Lassa fever as an historical disease”.
Lassa fever is an hemorrhagic fever, transmitted to humans through contact with household items or food contaminated with rodent feces or urine, and it is prevalent in the West Africa sub-region.