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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 138  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 835-846

New versus old meningococcal Group B vaccines: How the new ones may benefit infants & toddlers


Department of Health Sciences, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy

Correspondence Address:
D Panatto
Department of Health Sciences, University of Genoa, via Pastore 1-16132, Genoa
Italy
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


PMID: 24521624

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Invasive disease caused by Neisseria meningitidis is associated with high mortality and high disability rates and mainly affects children under one year of age. Vaccination is the best way to prevent meningococcal disease, especially in infants and toddlers. The introduction of massive meningococcal serogroup C vaccination has drastically reduced the incidence of disease caused by this serogroup, and serogroup B has now become the main causative agent in several industrialized countries. The first serogroup B vaccines, which were used for more than two decades, were based on outer membrane vesicles and proved to be protective only against specific epidemic strains in Cuba, Norway, Brazil and New Zealand. Moreover, these often elicited a scant immune response in young children. Innovative genomics-based reverse vaccinology subsequently enabled researchers to identify genes encoding for surface proteins that are able to elicit a strong immune response against several B strains. This important discovery led to the development and recent approval in Europe of the four-component meningococcal serogroup B (4CMenB) vaccine. Large clinical trials have shown high immunogenicity and tolerability and acceptable safety levels of 4CMenB in infants and toddlers. This vaccine is expected to cover a large number of circulating invasive strains and may also be efficacious against other serogroups. Young children are particularly vulnerable to the devastating consequences of meningococcal disease. Given the high performance of 4CMenB and its non-interference with routine vaccinations, this age-group will be the first to benefit from the introduction of this vaccine.


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