Great news. MenAfriVac is working, and it's working really well. The World Health Organization announced on Thursday that case numbers of meningitis A in the African meningitis belt have been driven to their lowest levels in 10 years. MenAfriVac was developed with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to tackle the epidemics of the disease that swept through the belt every meningitis season. According to the Meningitis Vaccine Project (MVP), an outbreak of meningitis across sub-Saharan Africa in 2009 infected at least 88,000 people and killed more than 5,000 (Reuters).
However, since the introduction of the vaccine in 2010, these dramatic numbers have fallen.
“The introduction of this first meningococcal vaccine available for preventive purposes in Africa has enabled the immunization of over 100 million people from 10 countries in the meningitis belt in the past three years,” the WHO said (Reuters). “The reduced case load and epidemic activity observed this year adds to the evidence on the impact…of this vaccine.”
Jean-Marie Preaud, Meningitis Vaccine Project, PATH joined us at the World Vaccine Congress Lyon 2012 to give further details about this project. You can read more and download the presentation here: Eliminating epidemic meningitis as a public health problem in sub-Saharan Africa. This year, Dr John Boslego, Global Program Leader, Vaccine Development at PATH, delivered a talk at the World Vaccine Congress USA 2013 entitled â€˜Driving the development of much needed vaccines for the developing world' (read more here: Immunization Strategies for the Developing World).
The MenAfriVac vaccine was developed with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Kim Bush, Director of Life Sciences Partnerships, Global Health Program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave a presentation on â€˜Investing in global health' at the World Vaccine Congress & Expo 2013. Watch his full presentation below:
If you want to know more about strategy and innovation in vaccines, you might be interested in attending the World Vaccine Congress Europe 2013, 16-17 October 2013, Lille.