[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Meningococcal disease is a life-threatening invasive infection (mainly septicemia and meningitis) that occurs as epidemic or sporadic cases. The causative agent, Neisseria men-ingitidis or meningococcus, is a capsulated Gram-negative bacterium. Current vaccines are prepared from the capsular polysaccharides (that also determine serogroups) and are available against strains of serogroups A, C, Y, and W-135 that show variable distribution worldwide. Plain polysaccharide vaccines were first used and subsequently conjugate vaccines with enhanced immunogenicity were introduced. The capsular polysaccharide of meningococcal serogroup B is poorly immunogenic due to similarity to the human neural cells adhesion molecule. Tailor-made, strain-specific vaccines have been developed to control localized and clonal outbreaks due to meningococci of serogroup B but no "universal" vaccine is yet available. This unmet medical need was recently overcome using several subcapsular proteins to allow broad range coverage of strains and to reduce the risk of escape variants due to genetic diversity of the meningococ-cus. Several vaccines are under development that target major or minor surface proteins. One vaccine (Bexsero ® ; Novartis), under registration, is a multicomponent recombinant vaccine that showed an acceptable safety profile and covers around 80% of the currently circulating serogroup B isolates. However, its reactogenicity in infants seems to be high and the long term persistence of the immune response needs to be determined. Its activity on carriage, and there-fore transmission, is under evaluation. Indirect protection is expected through restricting strain circulation and acquisition. This vaccine covers the circulating strains according to the presence of the targeted antigens in the circulating isolates as well as to their levels of expression. The coverage rate should therefore be updated and the surveillance of circulating isolates should include typing schemes for the antigens of the future vaccines. We review the recent available data for these upcoming protein-based vaccines and particularly Bexsero ® .
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The human bacterial pathogen Neisseria meningitidis remains a serious worldwide health threat, but progress is being made toward the control of meningococcal infections. This review summarizes current knowledge of the global epidemiology and the pathophysiology of meningococcal disease, as well as recent advances in prevention by new vaccines. Meningococcal disease patterns and incidence can vary dramatically, both geographically and over time in populations, influenced by differences in invasive meningococcal capsular serogroups and specific genotypes designated as ST clonal complexes. Serogroup A (ST-5, ST-7), B (ST-41/44, ST-32, ST-18, ST-269, ST-8, ST-35), C (ST-11), Y (ST-23, ST-167), W-135 (ST-11) and X (ST-181) meningococci currently cause almost all invasive disease. Serogroups B, C, and Y are responsible for the majority of cases in Europe, the Americas, and Oceania; serogroup A has been associated with the highest incidence (up to 1000 per 100,000 cases) and large outbreaks of meningococcal disease in sub-Saharan Africa and previously Asia; and serogroups W-135 and X have emerged to cause major disease outbreaks in sub-Saharan Africa. Significant declines in meningococcal disease have occurred in the last decade in many developed countries. In part, the decline is related to the introduction of new meningococcal vaccines. Serogroup C polysaccharide-protein conjugate vaccines were introduced over a decade ago, first in the UK in a mass vaccination campaign, and are now widely used; multivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccines containing serogroups A, C, W-135, and/or Y were first used for adolescents in the US in 2005 and have now expanded indications for infants and young children, and a new serogroup A conjugate vaccine has recently been introduced in sub-Saharan Africa. The effectiveness of these conjugate vaccines has been enhanced by the prevention of person-to-person transmission and herd immunity. In addition, progress has been made in serogroup B-specific vaccines based on conserved proteins and outer membrane vesicles. However, continued global surveillance is essential in understanding and predicting the dynamic changes in the epidemiology and biological basis of meningococcal disease and to influence the recommendations for current and future vaccines or other prevention strategies.
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