September 12, 2010 / 3:01 PM / 9 years ago

Novartis vaccine may guard against meningitis B

ZURICH, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG NOVN.VX said on Sunday Phase III study data indicated a vaccine it was developing could be the first to provide coverage against a type of meningitis.

Novartis presented the study data at a conference in Banff, Canada.

It said that in a trial involving more than 3,600 infants the large majority of those vaccinated with the investigational Multicomponent Meningococcal Serogroup B Vaccine (4CMenB) along with other routine vaccines achieved a robust immune response.

“Many cases of meningitis are prevented today by the vaccines we give to our children, but the more complex meningitis B remains as a major threat to public health,” Andrew Pollard, professor of paediatric infection and immunity at the University of Oxford, was quoted as saying in the Novartis release.

Meningococcal disease is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis, an infection of the membrane around the brain and spine. Global incidence of meningitis B infection is estimated to be between 20,000 and 80,000 cases per year, with a 10 percent fatality rate, Novartis said.

Novartis has won U.S. and European Union approval for another meningococcal vaccine called Menveo. [ID:nZAT010775] (Reporting by Catherine Bosley; Editing by David Holmes)

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