Landmark in fight against meningitis set to be licensed

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A LIFE-SAVING vaccine against Meningitis B is set to be licensed for use in the UK in a move that could save thousands of lives.

The disease, the most common and deadliest form of meningitis, affects an average of 1,870 people a year, many of them children, and results in death for one in ten sufferers.

The approval of the 4CMenB vaccine, developed by pharmaceutical company Novartis, was last night hailed as the “biggest leap forward in the field in the three decades” by the charity Meningitis UK.

It has received a “positive opinion” verdict from the European Medicines Agency – meaning the vaccine is considered safe and effective.

It will be the first Meningitis B vaccine approved for use in the UK, which has one of the highest incidence rates in the world. One in four sufferers is left with life-changing after-effects, such as brain damage and limb loss, with children under five most at risk. It can kill in under four hours.

Meningitis UK said the next stage will be to give the vaccine a marketing licence. It wants the vaccine to be introduced into the government’s routine immunisation schedule as soon as possible.

Meningitis UK founder Steve Dayman, who lost his baby son to meningitis and septicaemia in 1982, said: “This is a landmark moment in the fight against meningitis – I have waited three decades to hear this.”