India-developed vaccine saving lives in Africa


serum institute of indiaMeningitis A threatens the lives of 450 million people across 26 countries in Africa. A tailor made vaccine developed by Serum Institute of India is now preventing thousands of deaths caused by the disease every year . The $0.40/dose vaccine, MenAfriVac,  is the first vaccine for use in Africa that can be transported and stored for as long as four days without refrigeration, or an ice pack. While it cuts down the cost of the vaccine, it also allows for safe delivery in the most remote areas.

The vaccine has already been used in those aged 1-29 years, and now the WHO has approved its use on infants.

Meningococcal meningitis is a highly contagious bacterial form of meningitis, which is a serious inflammation of the meninges, the thin lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. The disease kills within hours, and thousands die in years with large outbreaks.

Repeated outbreaks of meningitis in the `Meningitis belt’ led to the formation of the Meningitis Vaccine Project, an alliance between PATH, an international, non profit global health organization, the WHO, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, that committed to developing a vaccine against Nesseria meningitis, the major cause of meningococcal infections. The solution came in the form of the vaccine developed by India’s Serum Institute.

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