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Vaccine. 2009 Jun 24;27 Suppl 2:B3-12. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2009.04.071. Epub 2009 May 28.

Properties and clinical performance of vaccines containing outer membrane vesicles from Neisseria meningitidis.

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Department of Bacteriology and Immunology, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, P.O. Box 4404 Nydalen, Oslo NO-0403, Norway.


Meningococcal outer membrane proteins have been used for over 20 years in more than 80 million doses; either as carrier protein in a Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) polysaccharide conjugate vaccine or as vesicle vaccine formulations against meningococcal disease. Conventional wild-type outer membrane vesicle (wtOMV) vaccines are the only formulations that have shown efficacy against serogroup B meningococcal disease. This has been demonstrated in Cuba, Norway and New Zealand; where epidemics, dominated by one particular strain or clone, were causing high rates of disease and wtOMV vaccines have been used for epidemic control. The most significant limitation for widespread use of wtOMV is that the immune response is strain-specific in infants, mostly directed against the immuno-dominant porin protein, PorA. The natural orientation of surface-exposed membrane antigens and the preservation of good physico-chemical stability are key features of OMV vaccines. The efficacy, tolerability and safety of wtOMV vaccines have been well proven. The most recent experience from New Zealand demonstrated a vaccine effectiveness of 80% for children less than 5 years of age, over a period of 24 months. Such results are encouraging for the further use of "tailor-made" OMV vaccines for epidemic control. Moreover, it provides opportunities for development of OMV vaccines with various additional cross-protective potential. There is good reason to believe that in the coming few years the "OMV-concept" will be exploited further and that a number of cross-protective "universal" antigens will be included in vaccines against serogroup B meningococcal disease. The desire to have a global vaccine strategy that enables susceptible individuals to be protected against all the relevant serogroups of meningococcal disease may become a reality.

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