Novartis says that a mid-stage study of its MenB vaccine demonstrated broad protection from meningococcal B infections in infants. Researchers tracked positive results starting with three immunizations starting at an age of two months. If the vaccine ultimately proves successful in gaining regulatory approval, it will be the first broad coverage vaccine intended to protect infants from meningococcal B strain, which is responsible for 72 percent of meningococcal disease in Europe. Novartis released the data at the European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases meeting and says that a vaccine could be on the market in three years.
"The prospect of one vaccine that protects infants worldwide against meningococcal serogroup B would be a key achievement in global disease prevention of our time," said Ray Borrow, PhD, head of the vaccine evaluation unit of the UK's Health Protection Agency. "Of those infected with the meningococcal B strain, there is a strong likelihood that the bacterium contains at least one of the antigens included in the Novartis MenB vaccine. These new findings tell us that the vaccine is likely to kill strains that contain the vaccine's antigens."