Towards an improved serogroup B Neisseria meningitidis vaccine.
Perrett KP., Pollard AJ.
Meningococcal disease, presenting primarily as septicaemia and meningitis, continues to be a devastating problem around the world. Over the last century, vaccine development has been undertaken in earnest for the prevention of this disease. Polysaccharide vaccines have been available for almost 40 years, yet they are poorly immunogenic in young children who are at the highest risk. Since their introduction into some routine immunisation schedules in 1999, polysaccharide-protein conjugate vaccines for the prevention of serogroup C meningococcal infection have proven efficacious. A quadrivalent polysaccharide-protein conjugate vaccine against serogroups A, C, W135 and Y, which is being introduced in the US this year, is hoped to control disease caused by these serogroups. To date, however, the development of a universally safe, immunogenic and effective serogroup B Neisseria meningitidis vaccine has remained a challenge. This review details the many conventional vaccine strategies and the more recent genome-derived technological approaches being used in serogroup B vaccine development. The future prevention of serogroup B disease will rely on both outer membrane vesicle vaccines being used for serosubtype-specific outbreaks and new vaccines containing multiple other antigens. Investment by the pharmaceutical industry in preclinical research and development provides hope that an efficacious serogroup B meningococcal vaccine can be developed.