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October 16, 1991

Vaccine for Meningococcal Meningitis Tested

JAMA. 1991;266(15):2052-2053. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470150020007

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RESEARCHERS at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, Md, have developed a vaccine that potentially could immunize infants against almost all meningococcal meningitis in the United States. So far, however, the vaccine has only been tested in mice.

Although there are vaccines against a number of meningococcal serotypes, these are not effective in infants and there are none against group B meningococci. But a development that might change this picture has just been reported (Proc Nati Acad Sci U S A. 1991;88:7175-7179).

At the NIH's National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Sarvamangala Devi, PhD, Rachel Schneerson, MD, John Robbins, MD, and coworkers say they have synthesized a conjugate vaccine that induces antibody against the capsular polysaccharides of both group B and group C meningococci. The vaccine also induces antibody to Escherichia coli K1.

About a decade ago, Schneerson and Robbins discovered that the immunologic properties of Haemophilus