New Vaccine Shows Promise in Combating MenB

Investigators from the Universities of Surrey and Oxford have declared that a vaccine candidate that can shield children from Meningococcal group B (MenB), which can cause meningitis, has advanced to clinical development.

New Vaccine Shows Promise in Combating MenB

Image Credit: University of Surrey

Researchers revealed how they were able to use an existing vaccine delivery platform—similar to the vaccines developed to combat Covid-19 and Ebola—to effectively produce the particular part of the bacteria that stimulates the immune system to make protective antibodies. The research was published in Science Translational Medicine.

The key challenge in our study was using viral-based vaccine platforms that can successfully generate antibodies against diseases such as rabies and SARS-CoV-2 to work for bacterial infections such as MenB.”

Christine Rollier, Professor, University of Surrey

Christine Rollier carried out the research while at Oxford University in her role as Associate Professor in Vaccinology at the Oxford Vaccine Group.

The group utilized vaccine platforms that expressed a protective protein called “factor H binding protein” to tackle this issue. The ability of these vectors to reliably produce the protein and induce a potent immune response in mice was tested by the investigators.

The group found a potential vaccine candidate, which was then refined for human use by making minor structural changes and re-testing it on mice with immune systems similar to those of humans. The potential vaccine has advanced to the clinical development stage.

While our MenB vaccine has shown strong, consistent, and long-lasting protection against these severe bacteria in mice after a single dose, we understand the complexities of the human immune system. As we progress, we remain cautiously optimistic about its potential to induce similar protective responses in humans. More importantly, the application of genetic vaccines such as ours signifies a hopeful leap forward in combating bacterial diseases.”

Christine Rollier, Professor, University of Surrey

MenB bacteria are a leading cause of potentially fatal infections such as meningitis and sepsis. According to the NHS, MenB is the dominant group responsible for 90% of meningococcal infections in the UK. These infections can affect people of all ages, but babies and young children are the most vulnerable. MenB infections can be fatal, with approximately one in every twenty affected children dying from the disease.

Source:
Journal reference:

Dold, C., et al. (2023). An adenoviral-vectored vaccine confers seroprotection against capsular group B meningococcal disease. Science Translational Medicine. doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.ade3901.

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