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A team of scientists at Scripps Research (Scripps Research) in La Jolla, California has published a study that shows the structure of the viral machinery that Lassa virus uses to enter human cells.

The Scripps Research team, led by VHFC researcher Dr. Erica Ollmann Saphire, spent a decade deciphering the viral structure of a deadly pathogen that causes thousands of deaths in West Africa every year. Solving the structure is a key step towards developing a basis for vaccine design.

The study’s first author, Kathryn Hastie, initiated the study as a graduate student in Dr. Ollmann Saphire’s lab in 2007, and tenaciously carried the project forward with help from collaborators at Tulane University and Kenema Government Hospital in Sierra Leone.

The study, Structural basis for antibody-mediated neutralization of Lassa virus, was published in the journal Science on June 2, 2017.