New meningitis vaccine, ‘a game changer’

Person having injection

Person having injection. Image Credit : Viacheslav Lopatin /

A new vaccine against the X strain of meningitis hailed as a ‘game changer’.

The vaccine was developed by the Serum Institute of India and Path, a division of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Called NmCV-5, it will protect against the five main meningococcal strains found in Africa, including the emerging X strain.

There is currently no vaccine to cure or control the X strain which can spread rapidly.

Successful vaccine trials were conducted among 1,800 people aged from two to 29 in Mali and the Gambia in 2021. The NmCV-5 vaccine can be made available at a lower cost than existing 4-in-1 vaccines with more cost-effective production methods.

Ed Clarke, a co-author of a study into the vaccine said it could prove: “game-changing for epidemic meningitis control in the ‘meningitis belt’”

He added: “We expect NmCV-5 to provide children and young adults with reliable protection against meningitis caused by the meningococcal bacteria in Africa.”

Meningitis is a serious infection of the thin lining surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It is estimated that there are over 2.5 million cases of meningitis each year with up to 250,000 deaths related to the disease.

The World Health Organization has set a target to reduce vaccine-preventable meningitis by 50% and deaths by 70% by 2030.

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Written by

Max Greenhalgh