TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

Health Canada approves Bexsero* Meningococcal B vaccine

Novartis said on Monday that Health Canada approved Meningococcal B vaccine Bexsero*, the first broad coverage vaccine for use against MenB in infants, toddlers and adolescents.

MenB is the leading cause of the meningitis in Canada, and can affect healthy people quickly. Symptoms are flu-like, making it difficult to diagnose at early onset. If not treated, the disease can cause death within 24 to 48 hours.

"Until now, we have had no vaccine against MenB that could be used routinely to protect infants, children, teens against this devastating disease," Ron Gold, the senior medical advisor of the Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada and retired chief of infectious disease at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, said. "The MenB vaccine is designed to reduce the risk of disease in those most at risk and provide parents with peace of mind."

Gold said the vaccine might be the last piece of the puzzle needed to complete prevention of all major causes of bacterial meningitis outside of childbirth.

"I encourage parents to talk to their doctor about meningitis and how they can protect their children with vaccines," Gold said. "I also hope that the new MenB vaccine will rapidly be added to the routine immunization programs throughout Canada."

Bexsero* will be available for sale in 2014.