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Hope for new group B meningococcal vaccine

Wednesday January 18th, 2012

Trials are showing a high rate of success for a new vaccine against group B meningococcal disease, it was announced today.

Effective vaccines have been developed against other forms of meningococcal disease, but serogroup B "remains a major cause of severe invasive disease in infants and adolescents worldwide," say Professor Miguel O'Ryan of the University of Chile, and colleagues.

In the Lancet today (January 18), they report on their randomised trial of a vaccine against serotype B called 4CMenB, which targets four component parts of the bacterium. The 1,631 adolescent participants received one, two, or three doses of the vaccine at one, two, or six month intervals.

After two or three doses, 99 to 100 per cent of recipients had an effective immune response against test strains of bacterium, compared with 92 to 97 per cent after one dose and 29 to 50 per cent after placebo.

Six months later, 91 to 100 per cent of participants still had effective responses after two or three doses, but only 73 to 76 per cent after one dose.

No serious adverse events were linked to the vaccine, say the researchers. They add that efficacy studies of this vaccine have now been done for adults, children, and adolescents, "all yielding similar, positive results".

Commenting on the findings, Dr David Stephens of Emory University, Atlanta, USA, states: "Serogroup B meningococcal disease remains a serious global health problem and prevention of serogroup B disease could be a step closer with new serogroup B vaccines."

But he adds: "Implementation recommendations will depend on country-specific incidence of serogroup B and vaccine coverage. Data are also needed for concurrent administration of 4CMenB with other vaccines."

Immunogenicity and tolerability of a multicomponent meningococcal serogroup B (4CMenB) vaccine in healthy adolescents in Chile: a phase 2b/3 randomised, observer-blind, placebo-controlled study. Santolay, M. E. et al. The Lancet, January 18 2012 doi:10.1016/ S0140-6736(11)61713-3

Prevention of serogroup B meningococcal disease. Stephens, D. S. The Lancet January 18 2012 doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)61934-X

Tags: North America | Pharmaceuticals | Traveller Health | World Health

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