New Meningitis Vaccine Launched

6 December 2010 marks the launch of a new vaccine combating epidemic meningitis in the African meningitis belt. The new meningococcal A conjugate vaccine, MenAfriVac, was developed by the Meningitis Vaccine Project (MVP), a partnership between the World Health Organization (WHO) and PATH, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, Ltd. and priced at less that US$0.50 a dose, MenAfriVac has been hailed as an affordable solution to one of the most serious health concerns in Sub-Saharan Africa.

MenAfriVac will first be introduced in Burkina Faso, swiftly followed by similar national vaccination campaigns in Mali and Niger.

Subject to the availability of funding, it is hoped that all 25 countries in the meningitis belt will be using the vaccine by 2015.