Tailor-Made Vaccine Set to Banish Africa’s Meningitis Epidemics

Friday, January 9, 2015

The website of a global partnership formed to wipe out deadly meningitis epidemics in sub-Saharan Africa is closing down with a simple message: “Thank you and goodbye!”.

Barely five years after the team began rolling out a tailor-made vaccine in Africa’s “meningitis belt”, the disease has all but disappeared there and the Meningitis Vaccine Project (MVP) is closing down after pioneering what may be a model for tackling infectious diseases in developing countries.

“We have not seen a single case among vaccinated populations …,” said Marie Pierre-Preziosi, MVP’s director, “and transmission has stopped.”

The tale of MenAfriVac, made by Serum Institute of India and costing just 50 U.S. cents a shot, elicits hopeful comparisons with the current rush to develop a vaccine against Ebola:

A deadly disease needed tackling quickly at a price affordable to some of the world’s poorest people; a committed group of scientists, drugmakers and philanthropists got together and developed a cheap, simple vaccine specifically for Africans; it was tested, trialled and deployed in record time; and in a matter of years, thousands of lives have been saved.

Source: World Bulletin (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
infectious diseases, vaccines