Vaccine for meningitis B will be available by Spring
A vaccine which is able to protect against the most common and deadly form of meningitis – the B strain – has been developed by scientists.
Meningitis B is currently the only strain of the disease for which a vaccine is not available, but following a large-scale patient trial there are now hopes the new development could become available in the spring.
Testing of the new vaccine revealed that just two doses of the vaccine gave effective protection to young children, teenagers and adults against roughly 80 percent of meningitis strains that are found in Europe.
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Novartis is the pharmaceutical manufacturing company behind the 4CMenB vaccine, which will be available privately if it receives a licence for patient use.
The company filed an application for a licence to the European health regulatory body a year ago and are currently awaiting the results.
Although vaccines have been developed which protect against meningitis C, pneumococcal meningitis and the hib strain, the B vaccine has been the hardest to develop because it takes many different forms.
Meningitis B is also one of the most feared strains of the illness, as it can kill in less than four hours and leaves survivors with life changing disabilities.
During a study of the 4CMenB vaccine, researchers in Chile gave different doses of the product to over 1,600 teenagers.
They found that two to three shots of the treatment stimulated an immune response in almost 100 percent of teenagers who received the active vaccine rather than the placebo.
Previous research has also suggested the vaccine has similar results in young children and adults.
The research team believe giving people two doses of 4CMenB six months apart from each other will offer the best protection against meningitis B.
The results of the study, which was funded by Novartis, have been published in The Lancet medical journal.
Writing in the publication, the researchers from the University of Chile said: “Following successful implementation of routine childhood vaccination with serogroup C meningococcal conjugate vaccines, serogroup B is now the most serious cause of meningococcal disease in Europe and elsewhere, with a substantial medical burden.
“In the UK, for example, up to 19 percent of laboratory confirmed cases of invasive serogroup B disease between 1999 and 2006 were fatal.”
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Dubai's new smart neuro spinal hospital: need to know
We take a look at Dubai's new smart hospital.
What: The Neuro Spinal Hospital and Radiosurgery Centre is a new hospital featuring state-of-the-art technology for spinal, neurosurgical, neurological, orthopaedic, radiosurgery and cancer treatments. The 700 million AED hospital, (equivalent to £138 million), has 114 beds, smart patient rooms, and green spaces for patient rehabilitation, and is four times the capacity of its former premises in Jumeirah. It is also the UAE’s first hospital to have surgical robots.
Where: The hospital is located in the Dubai Science Park. Founded in 2005, Dubai Science Park is home to more than 350 companies from multinational corporations in life sciences, biotechnology and research; over 4,000 people work here each day.
Who: The UAE's Neuro Spinal Hospital and Radiosurgery Centre was first established in Jumeirah in 2002 by Dr. Abdul Karim Msaddi, as the first as the first "super-specialty" neuroscience hospital.
Why: With advanced diagnosis and robotics, the hospital will provide care across neuroscience, spine, orthopaedics and oncology for people residing in the UAE, as well as international patients.
Prof. Abdul Karim Msaddi, Chairman and Medical Director of the hospital, said: “We are proud to bring world-class healthcare services to Dubai and believe our next-generation hospital will be a game-changer for the emirate’s and the region’s medical industry.
"It will not only significantly increase the availability of specialist neuroscience and radiosurgery treatments and provide better patient care but help attract and develop local and international talent. Investing in the new centre represents our continued faith in the resilience of the region’s economy, as well as a testament to our ongoing drive towards healthcare innovation in the UAE.”