Meningitis: New vaccine protects children up to 2 years – 05/19/2022 – Equilíbrio e Saúde

The vaccine against meningococcal meningitis showed high immunity in children up to two years of age with four of the most common types of bacteria in this age group and who had never been exposed to the pathogen.

The vaccine triggered an immune response similar to that of the existing formula, known as monovalent against meningococcus C meningitis, and also showed higher protection compared to the already used quadrivalent vaccine, which protects against type A, C, W and Y. ..

Meningococcal meningitis causes inflammation of the meninges, the membranes that surround the nervous system, including the brain. Symptoms are often less specific and include weakness, fever, vomiting, and headaches. In the worst cases, it can lead to hospitalization and death.

The results of a phase 3 clinical trial that evaluated vaccine versus vaccine versus the other two were published on the 21st day in the special issue of Human Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics.

According to Pharmaceutical Sanofi, the vaccine being studied, called MenQuadfi (MenACWY-TT), is more effective for influencing the immune response against meningococcal type C compared to other mono and tetravalent formulas, from the drug Pfizer. Meningococcal C is the leading cause of meningococcal disease in Brazil (equivalent to approximately 80% of the meningococcal meningitis types in the country).

In addition, the vaccine has been shown to be safe, with no side effects.

To assess the immune response to the new formula, the researchers recruited 701 children aged 12 to 23 months, who had not received any previous meningococcal vaccine, at 29 centers in Germany, Denmark and Finland.

Of the total children, 230 received the MenQuadfi vaccine, 232 received a quadrivalent vaccine from Pfizer and 239 received a monovalent vaccine against type C. Blood samples were taken the first day before vaccination and 30 days later to evaluate the antibodies produced.

According to Isabelle Bertrand, deputy director of immunization issues at Sanofi Europe, this is the first study that has shown a meningococcal vaccine with a higher immune response to previously vaccinated children compared to one available vaccine.

“Meningococcus C is currently the cause of most meningococcal meningitis in Brazil, but a significant increase in the incidence of meningitis caused by the most severe W has also been observed in the last decade. four main types [A, C, W e Y] disease, ”he said.

Furthermore, when evaluated three years later, 100% of children vaccinated by MenQuadfi still had antibodies – up from 6 out of 10 diagnosed with quadrivalent vaccines.

In Europe, where studies have been conducted, the most widely used vaccine is the Pfizer quadrivalent vaccine, but this vaccine has limited protection against type C. Recently, Britain and the Netherlands have experienced outbreaks of the disease in more severe ways. of meningococcus C, whose protection in the population was limited due to the leak of the vaccine against this species.

Thus, national immunization programs began to adopt a vaccine option with monovalent C vaccine in the first two years of life and, later, with a quadrivalent form in adolescence.

Here, the National Immunization Program provides one C vaccine in a child’s regular schedule, with three dosage of the combined version at three, five and 12 months (supplementation). The anti-meningococcus B form is given to children in a private network. The quadrivalent form has been released in the public network for children aged 11 and 12 since 2020.

According to the prescription, MenQuadfi already has approved use for children over 12 months in Brazil.

According to pediatrician Marco Aurélio Sáfadi, professor at the Faculty of Medical Sciences in Santa Casa de São Paulo and president of the infectious disease department at the Brazilian Pediatric Association (SBP), the new vaccine has the advantage of a strong immune response. , which has also been shown to last longer in studies, which may indicate that it will be more effective for children up to the age of two in terms of protection against type C.

“This high level of antibodies can translate into permanent protection, long-term protection of children and against different types,” he said.

For him, despite being a rare disease, with cases in the number of 1,000 cases per year (in the pre-epidemic period), meningitis causes panic because it can turn into a serious form in a few hours. According to the Ministry of Health, by 2022, 11 deaths have already been recorded for children and adolescents aged zero to 19. In 2021, there were nine deaths in total, and by 2020, 51.

“Most of the time, it affects healthy children, without any previous conditions, and they can continue to be in critical condition and be hospitalized and even threaten their lives for a few hours,” he says. “Therefore, it is very important to maintain a high immunization rate to protect all children.”

According to a pediatrician, respiratory infections, such as meningitis, decreased in frequency during the epidemic due to the exclusion of the fact that children have been out of school for months. Now, in return, it is possible to see a resurgence of cases, he says.

“We have seen a reduction of almost two-thirds of the cases we would normally see. But there is definitely a need to increase immunity now, especially for those who have not been vaccinated in the past two years, to further prevent.

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