Promising Results: Meningitis Vaccine Effective in Infants
27 October 2010
National charity Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) is delighted to learn of a promising new vaccine to protect against the deadly disease.
Data released by pharmaceutical company Novartis AG yesterday revealed that the Menveo meningitis vaccine trial proved effective in infants, and will now be submitted for approval by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).
Responding to this news Christopher Head, MRF’s Chief Executive, said: “This news marks another significant step in the fight against meningitis. At MRF we see firsthand the devastating effects of meningococcal disease in infants and we are delighted to hear of this latest development.
He added: “Babies and young children are the most at risk group of meningitis. MRF is currently funding 26 research projects, many of which are focused on vaccine development, to provide protection for this vulnerable age group.
Over 1000 babies under 1 will develop the disease every year in the UK. The risk is 38 times higher for this age group and approximately 2 deaths will occur every week. 1 in 10 babies die and 1 in 4 are left with after-effects, which can include limb loss, learning difficulties, deafness and brain damage.
Novartis announced the vaccine offers protection against four major types of meningococcal disease, A, C, W and Y. Whilst this is promising news, it is important to remember that not all forms of meningitis and septicaemia are vaccine-preventable, especially Group B meningococcal disease which is responsible for the majority of disease in the UK. For this reason, it is still crucial to be aware of the symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia.
Meningitis and septicaemia can be hard to recognise at first. Symptoms can appear in any order, and can include fever, vomiting, headache and feeling unwell, just like in many mild illnesses. The 'red flag' symptoms, such as cold hands and feet, pale or mottled skin, and limb, joint or muscle pain, often appear earlier than these symptoms so people need to be vigilant.
Further information can be found on this website or by calling the Foundation’s Freefone helpline on 080 8800 3344 (UK) and 1800 41 33 44 (Ireland).