Bacterial meningitis is an infection of the central nervous system, caused by various germs, which mainly affects children and causes inflammation of the meninges. The disease begins when the bacteria colonize the upper respiratory tract, from where they enter the blood and, from there, invade the central nervous system and reach the brain.
The Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) and the meningococcus B, are the pathogens most frequently involved in epidemics, since vaccines are currently available against other pathogens, such as Haemophilus influenzae and meningococcal C.
The study vaccine protects against meningococcus B, responsible for most of the meningitis infections that occur in Europe
Meningococcus B, responsible for most of the infections that occur in Europe, is a challenge for scientists because, so far, no vaccine is able to cover all the serogroups that exist of this pathogen. Therefore, there are several investigations underway and a group of Chilean researchers has just conducted a study in which they have found that a new vaccine generates an immune response in virtually all people who have been tested.
In the investigation, whose results have been published The Lancet, the authors evaluated the immunological capacity and safety offered by the vaccine 4CmenB, administering different doses of the same, and in different time intervals, to the 1,631 adolescents -with ages between 11 and 17 years-, who participated in the study. The data revealed that the best immune response was produced by administering two doses of this vaccine and respecting an interval between the two of one, two or six months. Following this protocol, they achieved a potential prophylaxis in almost all participants; although it does not protect against all the meningococci of group B, it is effective against most strains. However, other studies are necessary to determine the efficacy and tolerance of the drug in larger sectors of the population and, especially, in younger children, who are most affected by bacterial meningitis.