Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals

The Meningitis Vaccine Project - where we are today

12 December 2011

At the end of 2011, Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria are vaccinating more than 22 million individuals aged 1-29 years with the new meningococcal A conjugate vaccine, MenAfriVac, which has the potential to eliminate the leading cause of meningitis epidemics in Africa.

In these audio files (in French), four individuals closely involved either in the clinical trials for the vaccine, the organization of mass campaigns, or the health of those living in a rural community participating in the trials, talk about their work and the impact that the vaccine is expected to have on the health of people living in the meningitis belt.

Doctor Marie-Pierre Preziosi

Responsible for research and development of meningitis vaccines
WHO, Geneva

Doctor Carol Tevi-Benissan

Responsible for logistics planning of meningitis vaccine campaigns
WHO, Geneva

Doctor Aldiouma Diallo

Principal Investigator, MenAfriVac clinical trials
Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD), Niakhar, Senegal

Doctor Seynabou Gaye

District Medical Officer of Niakhar, Sénégal

  • Dr Gaye: duration 00:01:24 [mp3 1.3Mb] - in French
    During a meeting at the Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD) in Niakhar in October 2011, Dr Gaye explains how the people living in Niakhar are affected by meningitis. She also talks about the commitment of the local community to participation in the clinical trials of MenAfriVac.

In December 2010, the new vaccine was introduced in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. Developed through collaboration between the Meningitis Vaccine Project (WHO and the international non-profit organization PATH), an Indian vaccine manufacturer and public health officials in India and several African countries, the vaccine is superior to existing meningococcal vaccines in several ways: the duration of protection is longer, it protects young children, it has the potential to generate herd immunity, and is sold at a price affordable for Africa.

It is expected that, by 2016, the 25 African countries in the region known as the "meningitis belt", will have introduced the vaccine in mass campaigns, with a total of 300 million people vaccinated.

The introduction of the vaccine was only possible following years of clinical trials. The human trials began six years ago, in India. Since then, nearly 10 000 people have participated in trials in the Gambia, Ghana, India, Mali and Senegal. Clinical trials are continuing — to determine the duration of protection conferred by the vaccine, and the optimum schedule for its future introduction into routine immunization programmes.

Last update:

19 December 2011 09:48 CET

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