By Arthur Nead
The National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded a five-year contract totaling more than $15 million to Tulane University for its ongoing efforts to treat and prevent Lassa fever, an often deadly viral disease that threatens hundreds of thousands of people annually in West Africa and is classified as a potential bioterrorism threat.
Daniel Bausch, associate professor of tropical medicine at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, is a member of the team that was awarded the
grant and is the director of the Tulane Research and Training Program in the Mano River Union Region of West Africa.
“This study will result in a fundamental understanding of the mechanisms of antibody responses and how they neutralize the Lassa virus,” says James Robinson, professor of pediatrics in the Tulane School of Medicine and principal investigator for the project.
Bausch says that the group intends to expand this program to other infectious agents such as Ebola, Marburg and other hemorrhagic fever viruses that are of concern to the public health and bioterrorism preparedness communities.