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Scots Charity announces Major Meningitis Breakthrough

A new vaccine offering protection against most strains of meningitis has been developed by a group of doctors funded by the Meningitis Association of Scotland.

The recent development of a vaccine against meningitis C has been effective in reducing meningococcal disease throughout the UK.The new vaccine, however, would be effective against strains A, B, and C of the diseases, reducing both severity of attack and fatalities.

One of the breakthrough scientists, Dr Jan Matthias Braun commented that: "The vaccine strategy is based on mechanisms associated with the development of natural immunity to As reported by the Metro newspaper meningococcal disease found in older adults and children could be effective against more than 90 per cent of all cases worldwide."

As reported by the Metro newspaper

METRO Thursday, March 7, 2002

Vaccine hopes for meningitis

A VACCINE for potentially deadly meningitis B virus could be available within four years, scientists said yesterday

Doctors in Scotland, Australia and Germany are carrying carrying out tests on a new inoculation.
If their £100,000 research programme is successful, they believe the vaccine could be 95 per cent effective against the B-strain, which affects the brain and the spine.

Scientists hope the vaccine could also give people additional protection against meningitis C and the rare A-strain.

Prof Caroline Blackwell, leading the Australian research team, said she envisaged vaccinating children with a nasal spray or oral pill. This would galvanise their immune system into producing effective antibodies.
'We would like to see children vaccinated from two months old.

'The most rise period is between six months and five years old,' she added.

The breakthrough was announced at the annual conference of the Meningitis Association of Scotland yesterday.

Associate chairman Eileen McKiernan welcomed the the research but called for more NHS services to be set up for survivors of the disease.

Mrs McKiernan, whose son died from meningitis, said: 'Sufferers who over come meningitis are often mentally and physically scarred for life. Many have behavioural problems.

'They need to be rehabilitated back into society after overcoming the disease but there are very few services on the NHS that cater for survivors.

"As a researcher spend most of my time in the Lab. Sometimes it is difficult to break out of this small world of meningitis bacteria. But every time I speak to Eileen it gives me a great boost. It makes all the work more relevant. Her energy, her enthusiasm, it's just amazing".

Dr Jan Braun

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