Novartis' Bexsero meningitis B vaccine approved for infants and adolescents in Australia
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, Australia's governing body on immunizations, recently recommended Bexsero for all infants, children less than two years of age and adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19 years of age - the population most at-risk of meningococcal group B infection.
Australia's acceptance of Bexsero follows a mass acceptance of the drug throughout Europe, including recent acceptance as a treatment in Italy, Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic.
"For a vaccine-preventable disease, every child lost or disabled is one too many," Novartis Vaccines Division Head Andrin Oswald said. "These regional milestones are a testament to the public health benefits of Bexsero and we are hopeful that governments around the world will continue to act with a sense of urgency to help protect those most vulnerable from the devastation of meningitis B."
Meningitis B is the leading strain of meningococcal disease and septicaemia in developing countries. The disease is often deadly and can result in death or irreversible disability within 24 hours of infection. Health authorities recommend immunization as the best way to combat infection.
Bexsero is the only licensed meningitis B vaccine approved for use in the European Union, Australia and Canada that offers protection against meningitis B serotypes 1-4. Bexsero was also recently used as treatment against meningitis B outbreaks at Princeton University and the University of California, Santa Barbara.