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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2002 Oct;8(10):623-33.

The new pneumococcal vaccine.

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Department of Paediatrics, Imperial College School of Medicine, London, W2 1PG, UK.


Pneumococcal disease is now the leading cause of vaccine-preventable bacterial disease in children worldwide. Although a pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine has been available for over three decades, its use has been limited due to poor immunogenicity in the most vulnerable children, aged less than 2 years. The prevalence of pneumococcal disease worldwide and the alarming global escalation of multiresistant strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) during the past decade have provided the impetus for the development and application of a new pneumococcal vaccine. The outstanding success of Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) conjugate vaccine in the control of invasive Hib disease is a reason to be optimistic that the pneumococcal conjugate vaccines will achieve similar results for the control of invasive pneumococcal disease. Remarkable efficacy against invasive pneumococcal disease with a seven-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine was demonstrated in infants and toddlers in the USA, and in February 2000 the first pneumococcal conjugate vaccine was licensed. Licensure and widespread use is likely to follow in other countries in which there is a need and the means to afford this live-saving vaccine. Active disease surveillance must be sustained globally, while active research, development of other multivalent conjugate formulations and the search for new candidate protein-based vaccines are in progress.

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