Fractional dose of scarce meningitis vaccine may be effective in outbreak control
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One fifth of the standard dose of a commonly used meningitis vaccine may be as effective as using the full dose.
This new finding should allow scarce vaccine resources to be stretched further, especially during epidemics in Africa.
In a study initiated by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, together with Epicentre (the research arm of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières), and Mbarara University of Science and Technology in Uganda, immune responses in patients receiving smaller doses of a meningitis vaccine were found to be comparable to a full dose.
In 2004, a randomized clinical trial of 750 healthy volunteers (2-19 years old) took place in Uganda. Their immune response, assessed by serum bactericidal activity (SBA), was measured for 1/5 and 1/10 doses compared to a full dose. SBA response and safety/tolerability using 1/5 dose were comparable to a full dose for three serogroups (A, Y, W135), but not a fourth (C).
In view of the current shortage of meningococcal vaccines for Africa, the use of 1/5 fractional doses should be considered as an alternative in mass vaccination campaigns. The study’s findings contributed to a 2007 WHO recommendation that a fractional dosing strategy be utilized in the event of severe vaccine shortages during a meningitis epidemic.
Individuals younger than 50 who have been previously vaccinated do not appear to have a substantially different immune response to a half-dose of influenza vaccine than to a full dose, according to a report in the December 8/22 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. This suggests that half-dose vaccination in healthy young individuals may be
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In a November 16 advance, online publication of the journal Nature, the researchers say their discovery revamps common beliefs about how such potentially lethal infections may be ravaging the brain and suggests the possibility of new treatments. “This is a paradigm shift in how we think about some forms of meningitis and possibly other infections,”
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