Vaccine trial shows protection against meningococcal B disease in adolescents
18 January 2012
A clinical study published in The Lancet
today revealed promising data for a new vaccine to protect against meningococcal B disease (menB). The trial of Novartis’ new 4CMenB vaccine held in Chile has demonstrated a protective immune response in adolescents who are the second most at-risk age group from the disease after infants and also have the highest carriage rate of the bacteria.
Meningococcal 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 only way to control this deadly infection.
Over 1,600 adolescents (11-17 years) were given one to three doses of 4CMenB either one or two months apart. Results indicated that two doses of the novel 4CMenB vaccine separated by 1, 2, or 6 months provide a potentially protective immune response in almost 100% of adolescents. The trial also provides reassurance on safety with no serious vaccine related side effects.
Meningitis Research Foundation is calling for a MenB vaccine to be introduced into the UK Immunisation schedule as soon as one is licensed in their ‘Counting the Cost of Meningitis’ campaign.
Linda Glennie, Head of Research and Medical Information said: “This is excellent news in the battle against MenB which is currently the only strain of meningococcal disease for which there is no vaccine. Babies, toddlers and teenagers are most at risk from these diseases. Results coming from the clinical trials offer very exciting prospects for preventing MenB disease in the near future.
“When a safe and effective Men B vaccine does receive its license, which could be as early as spring 2012, it is essential that Government give it urgent consideration for introduction into the Immunisation Schedule so we can continue our progress toward eliminating meningitis and septicaemia. We must also be aware that this vaccine is unlikely to provide a complete solution to MenB so research must continue and parents should remain vigilant of the symptoms of the disease."