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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Lassa fever has killed 100,000 Nigerians – Expert

Lassa fever has killed 100,000 Nigerians – Expert

Prof. Dennis Agbonlahor, a member of the National Committee on the Control of Lassa fever, says the virus had killed more than 100,000 Nigerians since the discovery of the virus in the country, calling for more funding and political will to combat the scourge.

Agbonlahor said this while presenting a paper titled “Combating Lassa fever: A National Health Challenge”, organised by the University of Benin on Friday in Benin.

The expert therefore, commended the Federal Government for creating moreawareness about the disease calling for sustenance of the awareness initiative.

Also, he applauded the trials of newly developed Lassa virus vaccine in the country.

He said that the vaccine developed by a combined team from the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases and the Public Health Agencies of Canada was a promising vaccine for controlling Lassa fever.

According to him, “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.”

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