What is this project about?
Meningococcal A (MenA) disease is a huge problem in the ‘meningitis belt’ countries of sub-Saharan Africa, with more cases than anywhere else in the world. During the annual dry season between December and June, meningococcal meningitis rates skyrocket. The largest epidemic ever recorded in history swept across the entire region in 1996–1997, causing over 250,000 cases and 25,000 deaths.
Current vaccines against disease either do not give enough protection or are too expensive for countries to introduce. From December 2010 a new MenA vaccine was introduced to Burkina Faso as part of the “Meningitis Vaccine Project”, a partnership between PATH and the World Health Organisation. This is part of a mass vaccination programme in 5 countries of the meningitis belt, aimed at eliminating meningitis as a public health problem.
Although clinical trials suggest that the vaccine will be effective in preventing disease, this project will investigate how long protection lasts after vaccination by taking blood samples from children and adults and measuring levels of immunity. There will be three surveys, one in 2011 (approximately 6 months after the mass campaign with the MenA vaccine), one in 2013 (30 months after vaccination) and another in 2015 (54 months after vaccination). The results will be used by scientists and doctors to find out how often people will need to be revaccinated and will have direct implications for the efficient use of the new conjugate vaccine. As such this could have a substantial impact on the health of millions of people.
Meningitis Vaccine Project
This project is looking at protection levels following introduction of a MenA vaccine in Burkina Faso, a process which is being led by the Meningitis Vaccine Project.
MVP is an international collaboration which aims to reduce and control epidemic meningitis in several countries in Africa, where thousands of people die in large waves of disease.
This MRF project will provide essential data on the duration of protection of this new vaccine in one of the chosen African countries, Burkina Faso.