A new vaccine to combat all forms of Meningococcal disease is being developed, the Health Protection Agency announced today.
The meningococcal Group C conjugate vaccine, introduced into the UK in 1999, has proved successful in reducing cases of that disease but there is still no effective vaccine against the Group B strains.
The HPA will work with the Serum Institute of India Ltd, which will combine components of the B vaccine with components of the A and C conjugate vaccines, which it already makes, as well as conjugates of the Y and W135 strains to produce and pan-meningococcal vaccine.
The new 5-in-1 vaccine will be manufactured in India and will have to undergo clinical trial testing in order to ensure that it is safe and effective before it can be made available.
The Agency's chief executive, Professor Pat Troop, said: 'This latest development marks the first step on the road to eliminating all forms of this devastating disease.'