TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

Meningitis vaccine MenAfriVac safe outside of cold chain

The first mass vaccination campaign conducted in Africa with a meningitis vaccine that does not need constant refrigeration provided complete coverage to recipients, according to a study published on Wednesday in Vaccine.

Researchers evaluated the success of MenAfriVac, a vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, Ltd., during a ten-day meningitis A vaccination campaign in Benin in November. MenAfriVac was allowed to travel outside the cold chain and contained a threshold indicator to tell vaccinators if the vaccine reached its limit.

According to the study, MenAfriVac stayed viable even in ambient temperatures of up to 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit.

"The impressive coverage we saw in Benin when MenAfriVac was used outside of the cold chain paves the way for future campaigns in other regions with challenging geography, including countries where the vaccine will be administered later this year to

The Meningitis Vaccine Project is a partnership between the World Health Organization and the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health that helped to develop the MenAfriVac vaccine.

A separate study published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization showed the economic benefits of a vaccination approach removed from the cold chain could drop costs of administering MenAfriVac by as much as 50 percent.

According to the WHO, more than 20 million children are undervaccinated and are at risk of being infected by vaccine-preventable diseases.