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Home Industry News Novartis ‘could eliminate meningitis B’

Novartis ‘could eliminate meningitis B’

7th July 2008

A biologist at Novartis has reportedly said he may have discovered a method for eliminating meningitis B.

Bloomberg reports that Novartis is beginning to initiate final clinical tests of a preventative vaccine against the disease 15 years after Rio Rappuoli started his work on the project.

If successful, the vaccine will be the first on the market to protect infants from the bulk of the 260 strains that cause the disease every year.

Novartis forecasts possible availability for the vaccine in 2010, with Rappuoli describing the candidate product as a “gold mine” when recalling successful tests of the vaccine over a decade ago.

According to research from Datamonitor, such a vaccine could generate $2 billion (1 billion pounds) every year by 2016, with catch-up immunisations supplementing this income.

Hedwig Kresse, an analyst at the firm, said: “They do have a very, very good market opportunity.

“We especially see a large commercial potential in Europe.”

He added that meningitis B currently accounts for around 60 per cent of all meningococcal meningitis infections in Europe.

In May 2008, Ray Borrow, head of the vaccine evaluation unit of the Health Protection Agency in the UK, said the availability of a vaccine that protects against the meningococcal serogroup B would be a key achievement in global disease prevention of our time.

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