A new vaccine vanquishes meningitis A in Africa

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Science  12 Sep 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6202, pp. 1265
DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6202.1265

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Every few years with the onset of the dry season, Neisseria meningitidis sweeps across a swath of Africa, causing bacterial meningitis that kills 5% to 10% of those infected and leaves many others deaf or disabled. No good affordable vaccine existed for the main strain in Africa, serotype A. In the early 2000s, a public-private partnership called the Meningitis Vaccine Project set out to develop the first vaccine specifically for Africa at a price Africans can afford—less than 50 cents a dose. It has been called one of the most dramatic successes in global health. Meningitis cases have dropped to near zero in every country where MenAfriVac has been introduced since 2010.