Vaccine given approval by European Medicines Agency to be used in children
20 March 2012
Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) welcomes the news that a meningitis vaccine has been given positive opinion by the European Medicines Agency's (EMA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) to be used in children from the age of 2.
Menveo (manufactured by Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics) is already licensed for those aged 11 and older to prevent meningococcal A, C, W135 and Y infection, which can cause meningitis and septicaemia. It is currently used in the UK for people travelling to Saudi Arabia on Hajj and to other countries where the risk is particularly high. It is also offered to people with certain immune system problems and for close contacts of anyone who becomes ill with meningococcal A, W or Y infection.
The positive opinion is one of the final steps before regulatory approval.
Responding to this news Christopher Head, MRF’s Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to see Menveo recommended for licensure in Europe for children from 2 years of age. This news presents a renewed opportunity for wider protection against these deadly infections, and we urge government advisors to consider the potential for routine use of more broadly protective vaccines.
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 most cases of meningitis and septicaemia are not vaccine-preventable. For this reason, vaccine research must continue, and MRF is currently funding 19 research projects, many of which are focused on vaccine development. It also remains 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. 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.
For information on the signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia, you can call the Freefone 24 hour helpline on 080 8800 3344 or download the free app from I-tunes: ‘Meningitis – Know the Symptoms’.
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