GlaxoSmithKline on Monday announced that preliminary data from the first national meningitis B immunisation programme with Bexsero, launched in the UK for infants last September, demonstrated that the vaccine was 83-percent effective against any meningitis B strain and 94-percent effective against vaccine preventable strains, for all children receiving the first two of three recommended doses. The findings, which were presented at the International Pathogenic Neisseria Conference (IPNC), also showed that the number of reported cases of the disease dropped 50 percent in the vaccine-eligible population in the first ten months of the programme, compared with the average number of cases over the previous four years.
Thomas Breuer, chief medical officer of GlaxoSmithKline's vaccines division, said the company was "extremely encouraged by the initial results of the UK programme," adding that "the data substantially advance our understanding of the impact of meningitis B vaccines in a real-world setting and may help inform public health authorities around the world about their future use."
Bexsero, which GlaxoSmithKline acquired the rights to from Novartis in 2015, is currently the only meningococcal B vaccine approved for use in Europe, with the UK's immunisation programme being the first in the world aimed at preventing meningitis B. Specifically, infants are immunised at two and four months of age, with a booster dose administered at 12 months. According to GlaxoSmithKline, the preliminary data "demonstrate the immediate impact on meningococcal B disease rates in the eligible population following two doses of the vaccine," while more data are anticipated as the first infants from the programme receive their booster dose later this year.
Bexsero is also approved in the US to prevent meningococcal disease caused by Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B in individuals aged 10 to 25 years. In addition, the vaccine is cleared for use in Canada, Australia and certain countries in South America, including Brazil.
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