This quarter, the news is all about heat—and cold—at the Meningitis Vaccine Project (MVP), a collaboration between PATH, the World Health Organization, the Serum Institute of India, Ltd, and partners worldwide.
Putting the heat on meningitis A. The lifesaving MenAfriVac® vaccine reached more than 50 million people between the ages of 1 and 29 in 2013, bringing the total number of people protected from deadly and debilitating meningitis A to more than 153 million since 2010. And there still have been no reported cases among people who received the vaccination.
Now, we are continuing to expand MenAfriVac’s reach. Special campaigns brought the vaccine to vulnerable refugee communities in Chad and South Sudan in March, and five new countries are preparing for vaccine introduction later this year: Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mauritania, South Sudan, and Togo. Rollouts will also continue in Ethiopia and Nigeria. Together, these efforts are putting the heat on meningitis A—and chasing it out.
Taking MenAfriVac out of the cold (chain). Many vaccines must be kept cold during transport, storage, and handling to maintain their efficacy. Maintaining this “cold chain” can be a challenge in hard-to-reach areas without electricity or systems to maintain consistent refrigeration. But in February, a study published in the journal Vaccine demonstrated that with a new distribution approach, MenAfriVac stays effective even if it is transported without constant refrigeration for up to four days at temperatures up to 104°F (40°C). This knowledge could help extend vaccination to even the most remote regions of Africa. A separate study suggested that easing the need for constant refrigeration could cut storage and transportation costs in half.
Other MVP achievements include progress on the clinical and regulatory work necessary to allow MenAfriVac to be used among infants and continued support for meningitis surveillance in Africa.
Your support has helped make this powerful and wide-reaching work possible. Thank you for joining us as we continue to put the heat on meningitis A—and give people worldwide a new chance to thrive.
The Meningitis Vaccine Project is a partnership between PATH and the World Health Organization. Started in 2001 with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the mission of the MVP is to eliminate meningitis as a public health problem in sub-Saharan Africa through the development, testing, introduction, and widespread use of conjugate meningococcal vaccines. MenAfriVac® is a registered trademark of Serum Institute of India Ltd.