Meningitis vaccine C will be available this autumn
Roger J G Stevens Aberdeen
Results of a worldwide clinical trial of a new conjugate group C meningococcal vaccine have shown such favourable results that the British government plans to make it available this October, one year ahead of schedule. According to Frank Dobson, secretary of state for health, the vaccine will be available, providing the suppliers' timetables are kept to and licensing, purchasing, and supply proceed smoothly.
The vaccine is active against group C meningococci bacteria, which cause meningitis in groups at high risk such as infants, teenagers, and young adults. The trial included over 20 000 people in these high risk age groups and showed that the vaccine was safe and conferred lasting immunity. Four pharmaceutical companies—Wyeth, Chiron, NAVA, and Pasteur-Merieux—have par-ticipated in the trial, and one has submitted an application for a product licence.
Current vaccines for group C meningococci are not effective in infants aged under 18 months, who represent the