Encouraging Data on the Immune Response to the new Men B Vaccine in Tots and Teens

Encouraging Data on the Immune Response to the new Men B Vaccine in Tots and Teens

09 June 2011

Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) welcomes new data released today by Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, revealing a robust immune response in babies, toddlers and teenagers to their new Men B vaccine candidate (4CMenB), currently submitted for licence to the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Meningococcal group B disease is the leading cause of life-threatening meningitis and septicaemia in the UK for which there is currently no vaccine. The disease is difficult to diagnose in the early stages, with symptoms appearing similar to common flu-like illnesses. Therefore, prevention through vaccination is the best way to control these deadly diseases.

Chris Head, Chief Executive of MRF said: “Babies, toddlers and teenagers are most at risk from these diseases. Results coming from the three clinical trials today are reassuring and offer optimistic prospects for preventing MenB disease in the near future. If a safe and effective MenB vaccine does become available, it is essential that Government give it full consideration so we can continue our progress towards a UK free from meningitis and septicaemia.”

Today’s news is greatly welcomed by members of MRF who have lost loved ones to meningitis and septicaemia or are living with the after-effects daily.

20 year old Nicole Wilson from Cambridgeshire contracted meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia at the age of 16 in June 2008 whilst on holiday in Cyprus. It was 10 days before she regained consciousness and as a result of the disease doctors removed both her legs below the knee and the fingers on both hands. She is now on the waiting list for a kidney and is living with the after affects of meningitis and septicaemia.

Nicole said: “When I woke up in hospital having contracted meningitis and septicaemia I thought my life had been totally ruined by this devastating disease. But now I realise just how lucky I am to be alive. I am really pleased to hear that there is a Men B vaccine on the horizon as it may prevent other teenagers having to deal with the loss of arms and legs and save lives.“

In May MRF launched a major campaign, Counting the Cost, which reveals the shocking lifelong costs of surviving meningitis and septicaemia and calls on Government to pursue the widest and earliest implementation of vaccines to prevent the diseases. Please sign the petition here


  • The data were presented at The European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases (ESPID) in The Hague, The Netherlands (7-11 June2011) by Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics.
  • For more information on the data you can read Novartis' news release here


If you require any further information please contact Becky Pierce-Jones, PR Manager on 01454 280416 or 07551 968850 or by email.

Notes to Editor:

  • Meningitis Research Foundation is currently funding 26 research projects into the prevention, detection and treatment of meningitis and septicaemia. The Foundation has spent £16 million on research since its inception in 1989
  • Meningitis Research Foundation operates a Freefone 24 hour helpline – 080 8800 3344 – providing information on meningitis and septicaemia to the general public and health professionals or download the free app from I-tunes – ‘meningitis bug blaster’.
  • The Foundation offers support for those affected by meningitis and septicaemia. Trained helpline staff is available 365 days a year. A befriending service links people with experience of meningitis and septicaemia to share their experiences and help each other.

More on MenB

In-depth Q + A on the vaccine

Sam Williams
Media Relations Manager

Hi, I’m Sam and I’m MRF's PR Manager.

If you want to know more about this story call me on 0333 405 626251, out of office hours on 07875 498047 or email me