RESEARCH SUPPORT, U.S. GOV'T, P.H.S.
Progress toward the global control of Neisseria meningitidis: 21st century vaccines, current guidelines, and challenges for future vaccine development.
The control of meningitis, meningococcemia and other infections caused by Neisseria meningitidis is a significant global health challenge. Substantial progress has occurred in the last twenty years in meningococcal vaccine development and global implementation. Meningococcal protein-polysaccharide conjugate vaccines to serogroups A, C, W, and Y (modeled after the Haemophilus influenzae b conjugate vaccines) provide better duration of protection and immunologic memory, and overcome weak immune responses in infants and young children and hypo-responsive to repeated vaccine doses seen with polysaccharide vaccines. ACWY conjugate vaccines also interfere with transmission and reduce nasopharyngeal colonization, thus resulting in significant herd protection. Advances in serogroup B vaccine development have also occurred using conserved outer membrane proteins with or without OMV as vaccine targets. Challenges for meningococcal vaccine research remain including developing combination vaccines containing ACYW(X) and B, determining the ideal booster schedules for the conjugate and MenB vaccines, and addressing issues of waning effectiveness.
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