The Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Consortium (VHFC) was established in 2010 as a result of a founding five-year $15 million contract awarded to Tulane University by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is part of the National Institute of Health. 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. In 2020, the VHFC was established a 501c3 nonprofit organization.
The consortium has since been expanded to include partners from several other consortia, including The Africa Centre Of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases, The Center for Viral Systems Biology, and The Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Immunotherapeutic Consortium. Medical institutions that are part of VHFC include Kenema Government Hospital, Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, and various other partners in West Africa. In addition to Tulane University, academic partners include Scripps Research, Harvard University, Redeemer’s University, Broad Institute, La Jolla Institute of Immunology, and University of Texas Medical Branch, as well as industry partner Zalgen Labs.
The goal of the Consortium is to understand important aspects of the immune response and spread of viral hemorrhagic fevers, including Lassa fever and Ebola virus disease. By understanding key aspects of these diseases, we are hoping to develop new and effective diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines.
Our research has resulted in several landmark studies published in leading journals such Nature, Cell, Science, and New England Journal of Medicine. More importantly, the work from VHFC has resulted in rapid diagnostic platforms for both Lassa fever and Ebola virus disease, which are now in routine use across West Africa and commercially available from Zalgen. We are also in the late stages of developing novel and highly effective monoclonal cocktail-based therapeutics, as well as several promising vaccine candidates.
Dr. Robert Garry, professor of microbiology and immunology at Tulane University, is the founding director of VHFC and the current President. Other Board Members include Kristian Andersen, Pardis Sabeti, and Doug Simpson. In-country PIs include Drs. Christian Happi (Nigeria) and Donald Grant (Sierra Leone).