Novartis meningitis vaccine delivers positive data

A new type of meningococcal vaccine proved effective in combating four strains of the disease in all age groups, leading researchers to believe that they may be onto the first such vaccine that can be made available to babies. Meningitis strikes 1,400 to 2,800 people a year in the U.S., killing 10 percent to 14 percent of them and leaving another 20 percent with permanent disabilities. Novartis has been testing Menveo to see how the vaccine works against four strains of meningococcal disease: A, C, W-135 and Y.

"The study showed that [Menveo] was able to stimulate production of protective antibodies against all four meningococcal groups in most of the children receiving the vaccine," says the lead researcher, Dr. Matthew Snape. "For example, for children receiving the vaccine at 2, 3, 4 and 12 months of age, protective antibody levels were seen in 94 percent or above for all the meningococcus types." One expert in the field told Health Day that Menveo represented a potentially "huge advance" in the field.

- see this release on the data
- read the report from Health Day