Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics (formerly Human Vaccines)
Volume 8, Issue 6 June 2012
Development of a group A meningococcal conjugate vaccine, MenAfriVacTM
Carl Frasch, Marie-Pierre Preziosi and F. Marc LaForce
Group A meningococcal disease has been an important public health problem in sub-Saharan Africa for over a century. Outbreaks occur there annually, and large epidemics occur at intervals ranging between 8 and 12 y. The Meningitis Vaccine Project was established in 2001 with funding from the Gates Foundation with the goal of developing, testing, licensing, and introducing an affordable group A meningococcal conjugate vaccine into Africa. From 2003 to 2009 a monovalent group A conjugate vaccine, MenAfriVacTM, was developed at the Serum Institute of India, Ltd through an innovative public/private partnership. Preclinical studies of the new conjugate vaccine were completed in 2004 and a Phase 1 study began in India in 2005. Phase 2/3 studies in African 1–29 y olds were completed in 2009 showing the new meningococcal A conjugate vaccine to be as safe as currently licensed meningococcal polysaccharide vaccines, but much more immunogenic. After Indian market authorization (December 2009) and WHO prequalification (June 2010), MenAfriVacTM was introduced at public health scale using a single 10 µg dose in individuals 1–29 y of age in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger in December 2010. We summarize the laboratory and clinical studies leading to prequalification of MenAfriVacTM. The 2011 epidemic season ended with no reported case of group A meningitis in vaccinated individuals.