Vaccine to tackle meningitis “just a year away”
London: Experts have tested a new vaccine for meningitis B, the strain against which there is currently no defense.
According to them, it will dramatically reduce the risk of children dying from the disease, reports the Daily Mail.
Meningococcal B is the most common form of bacterial meningitis in UK and one of the most deadly, in some cases killing in a few hours.
Although vaccination programmes have been successfully introduced to combat pneumococcal meningitis and the strains C and Hib, no B vaccine currently exists in this country.
Bexsero is the first vaccine providing broad protection against 800 deadly, disease-circulating meningococcal B strains and could be available as soon as next year.
Results from 7,500 children, adolescents and adults taking part in trials show they produced antibodies against 77 per cent of these strains.
Teams from the Health Protection Agency have helped to test the jab, developed by Novartis.
It is likely to be approved in the next few months, paving the way for inclusion in the childhood immunisation programme.
The vaccine was developed using so-called ‘reverse vaccinology’, decoding the genome sequence of meningitis B and selecting proteins most likely to be broadly-effective vaccine candidates.