WHO/Health Canada meeting on regulatory considerations for evaluation and licensing of new meningococcal Group B vaccines, Ottawa, Canada, 3-4 October 2011
Serogroup B Neisseria meningitides (MenB) is a significant cause of endemic and epidemic outbreaks of the disease worldwide. Although polysaccharide and conjugate vaccines are available against other meningococcal serogroups, the poor immunogenicity of MenB polysaccharide has led to the development of protein-based vaccines. However, the diversity and antigenic variability of MenB strains has been a major challenge. Recently a new generation of MenB vaccines that contain conserved antigens has been developed to provide broader coverage and they are in an advanced stage of development and regulatory consideration. In October 2011, the World Health Organization and Health Canada jointly organized a consultation on regulatory considerations for the evaluation and licensing of new MenB vaccines. The aim was to seek consensus on key regulatory issues relevant to the evaluation of candidate MenB vaccines and on approaches to the standardisation of in vitro assays used in the evaluation process. Participants agreed that functional antibodies as measured in the Serum Bactericidal Activity (SBA) assay could be used to evaluate MenB vaccine efficacy and ways of improving assay standardization proposed. Approaches to bridging SBA data to large collections of strains in order to give an indication of the prospective breadth of vaccine coverage were discussed.
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