Meningitis B vaccination begins trials

Trials have begun in Belgium of a vaccine designed to eradicate all variations of the meningococcal B strain.

Virtually the leading form of meningitis death in the developed world. Meningitis B now accounts for 60% of all UK meningitis cases, killing approximately 250 people each year and the figure is going up all the time.

Within the past 18 months, Meningitis C vaccine has been making a vast impact on the number of diagnosed cases and deaths of the C strain of the virus. In conjunction with an equivalent C campaign, the advent of the B vaccine will effectively prevent all cases of meningococcal disease in Europe - or so said a spokesman for Baxter International Inc, the pharmaceutical company responsible for developing the vaccine.

A spokeswoman for the Meningitis Research Foundation welcomes the move, but remains cautious in these early trial stages, saying, 'This is wonderful news but we must still continue with research in case the trials are not successful. We don't want people out there becoming complacent.'

The news breaks in the same week that new thinking on cot death reveals that immunisation programmes could be offering some protection against the syndrome. The claim has been made following a study carried out by Bristol University which took into consideration 470,000 babies born between 1993 and 1996, headed by Professor Peter Fleming. 

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