Meningtis vaccine shows protection in infants

A late-stage study has shown that Novartis' meningitis vaccine Menveo provides increased levels of protective antibodies in infants.

Novartis hopes to gain approval from the Food and Drug Administration for infants to use the vaccine by the end of 2010. Menveo is currently approved as a vaccine for people between ages 11 and 55, BusinessWeek.com reports.

Bacterial meningitis occurs as an infection in the membrane around the spine and brain. Meningitis can be life-threatening because of the inflammation's proximity to the brain and spinal cord. Common symptoms include a headache, stiff neck, confusion and vomiting, as well as trouble tolerating light and noise.

According to Novartis, meningitis is more likely to occur early in an infant’s first year. If approved, Menveo could be the first vaccine to prompt such a healthy immune response in infants vaccinated around two months of age.

The study included over 4,500 infants across the globe, BusinessWeek.com reports. The findings of the study were presented at the 48th annual meeting of the Infectious Disease Society of America in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The data showed that infants were given additional protection against four different serogroups of bacterial meningitis. The vaccine was generally well tolerated, whether it was co-administered with other infant vaccines or given alone, the Tehran Times reports.