Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Consortium

The Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Consortium was established in 2010 as a result of a five-year $15 million contract awarded to Tulane University by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is part of the National Institute of Health (NIH). This contract was awarded for Tulane's ongoing efforts to treat and prevent Lassa Fever, a disease that threatens hundreds of thousands of lives annually in West Africa and is classified as a potential bioterrorism threat.

The goal of the Consortium is to undertand mechanisms related to the human immune response to Lassa virus infection. Specifically, by understanding what parts of the virus are recognized by the immune system, we can better understand mechanisms of antibody-mediated protection or pathogenesis in humans with Lassa Fever.

Tulane's previous efforts focused on the development of new recombinant proteins for Lassa virus and diagnostic products, which have shown to be extremely effective in clinical settings in Africa. The new NIH award enables research to move to the next level, allowing for focus to be shifted towards better treatment and ultimately prevention of Lassa fever altogether.

The Consortium is a collaboration between Tulane, Scripps Research Institute, Broad Institute, Harvard University, University of California at San Diego, University of Texas Medical Branch, Autoimmune Technologies LLC, Corgenix Medical Corporation, Kenema Government Hospital (Sierra Leone), Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (Nigeria) and various other partners in West Africa. Together they work on evaluating antibodies from patients who have been infected by Lassa virus and have subsequently recovered, to see if those antibodies might play a role in the development of a vaccine or treatment for the illness. The Consortium intends to expand this program to include other important infectious agents such as Ebola, Marburg and other Arenaviruses that are of great concern to public health and bioterrorism.

Dr. James Robinson, professor of pediatrics at Tulane University School of Medicine, is the principle investigator of the program, and Dr. Robert Garry, professor of microbiology and immunology at Tulane, is the program manager.

More information about the various partners.

More information about the individuals involved.

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