Lassa fever (LF) is an acute and often fatal hemorrhagic disease that is endemic in the West African countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria. Kenema Government Hospital (KGH) in Sierra Leone, West Africa is a 350-bed facility situated in the heart of the region with the highest incidence in the world of LF. Because of the importance of LF as a bioterrorism and public health threat, KGH has developed an advanced clinical and laboratory research capacity. KGH currently maintains a 25-bed Lassa Ward and full-time staff completely dedicated to the care of patients with LF. Recently, the KGH research team has broken ground on a new 48-bed Lassa Ward that will replace this historic, but timeworn facility. This is a request for support of a one-time NIAID conference in association with opening of the new Lassa Ward in Sierra Leone.
The Specific Aims of our Conference Plan are to 1. Commemorate the opening of the new Lassa Ward, reflect on the historical, societal and scientific impact of LF, and increase public awareness of the continued impact of LF in Sierra Leone and the West African subregion;2. Assemble several generations of experts on LF who may otherwise not have an opportunity to meet to share and debate their latest findings and to define goals for the future;3. Present training exercises and workshops to showcase new capabilities in West Africa for LF clinical and laboratory research;4. Integrate clinical and basi research findings to identify the most critical gaps in our knowledge and understanding of LF and what steps could aid future studies;5. Promote collaborations to move LF research, including vaccine and therapeutic development, forward at a faster pace. Develop creative solutions to unresolved challenges in research and implementation of Lassa fever policies and programs;6. Provide funds to graduate students, postdoctoral trainees, junior faculty members, and members of under-served and under-represented stakeholder groups for the purpose of attending this conference, and 7. Create a setting that will contribute to the probability of success of the conference, and provide adequate support, equipment and other physical resources. We will discuss the many recent breakthroughs in our understanding of the virology, immunology, epidemiology and natural history of Lassa fever. In this open meeting we hope to bring together experts on LF from several generations of scientists and to cover a broad range of subject matter. We will invite anyone interested to attend, while maintaining uniform standards for selecting the final list of participants. We anticipate that scientists from across West Africa as well as from the United States, South America, Europe, Asia and elsewhere will attend this timely conference.

Public Health Relevance

This is a request for support of a one-time NIAID conference in association with opening of the new Lassa Ward in Sierra Leone. We will discuss the many recent breakthroughs in our understanding of the virology, immunology, epidemiology and natural history of Lassa fever. In this open meeting we hope to bring together experts on LF from several generations of scientists and to cover a broad range of subject matter.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Type
Conference (R13)
Project #
1R13AI104216-01
Application #
8459184
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZAI1-KP-M (S1))
Program Officer
Mulach, Barbara L
Project Start
2013-09-01
Project End
2014-08-31
Budget Start
2013-09-01
Budget End
2014-08-31
Support Year
1
Fiscal Year
2013
Total Cost
$8,000
Indirect Cost
Name
Tulane University
Department
Microbiology/Immun/Virology
Type
Schools of Medicine
DUNS #
053785812
City
New Orleans
State
LA
Country
United States
Zip Code
70118
Spence, Jennifer S; Melnik, Lilia I; Badani, Hussain et al. (2014) Inhibition of arenavirus infection by a glycoprotein-derived peptide with a novel mechanism. J Virol 88:8556-64
Shaffer, Jeffrey G; Grant, Donald S; Schieffelin, John S et al. (2014) Lassa fever in post-conflict sierra leone. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 8:e2748