SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2016

U.K. welcomes Novartis meningitis B vaccine into National Immunisation Programme

Novartis announced on Friday that the United Kingdom's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation welcomed its vaccine against meningitis B, Bexsero, into the National Immunisation Programme for infants two months of age and older.

"Today's decision by the U.K .authorities brings tremendous relief to many parents and families who have lost loved ones to meningitis," Novartis Vaccines Division Head Andrin Oswald said. "At Novartis, it took us over 20 years of hard work to get to this point. Protecting infants who are the most vulnerable will be a great achievement. It is also a strong motivator for us to continue our efforts to protect all children and adolescents against this devastating disease, in the UK and elsewhere in the world."

Bexero is an rDNA vaccine against meningococcal group B, a rare, but often deadly, disease. It is the only licensed broad coverage meningitis B vaccine approved for use in Canada, Europe and Australia that protects against Meningitis B serotypes 7, 8 and 9. It is currently considered an Investigational New Drug in the U.S. and was used during recent meningitis outbreaks at Princeton University and the University of California Santa Barbara.

"I applaud the JCVI for taking the right decision to make this life-saving vaccine available to babies and am delighted that the U.K .is once again leading the way in meningococcal disease prevention," Consultant Pediatrician from London Dr. Nelly Ninis said. "No child should suffer the devastation of a preventable disease, especially one that can be fatal within hours, and leave many of its survivors maimed and impacted for life."