The new meningitis vaccine MenAfriVac has reduced the incidence of the disease in Chad by 94 percent, according to a study recently published in The Lancet. MenAfriVac, the first meningitis vaccine developed specifically for Africa, targets the type-A strain of the disease. The study examines the effects of the vaccine on 1.8 million people under the age of 29 across three regions of Chad during the 2012 meningitis epidemic. “What we found was that the number of cases dropped dramatically in the part of the country that was vaccinated and that the meningitis epidemic continued in the part of the country that had not been vaccinated,” says Dr. James Stuart, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and co-author of the study. Although MenAfriVac was introduced in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger in December 2010, this marks the first time that researchers have been able to test its effectiveness. Plans are underway to roll out the vaccine to the rest of Africa’s meningitis belt countries.
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