PRECLINICAL STUDIES AND CLINICAL TRIALS IN DETERMINATION OF SAFETY AND EFFICACY OF MENINGOCOCCAL VACCINES: PRESENT SCENARIO
Keywords:Animal studies, Clinical trials, Immune response, Meningitis, Outer membrane protein, Outer membrane vesicle vaccines, Serological tests
Meningitis, a serious communicable inflammatory disease continues to be a worldwide threat especially in sub-Saharan Africa affecting millions of people with high death rates every year. Strains from six serogroups of the principal causative organism Neisseria meningitidis are found to be responsible for the majority of infections. Incidences of antibiotic resistance and efforts to provide mass protection have necessitated the development of meningococcal vaccines since the latter half of the 20th century. Aiming to ostracize meningitis by 2030, the World Health Organization focuses on vaccination as an important strategy to reach the goal. Due to limited efficacy and stability issues of earlier polysaccharide and protein conjugate vaccines respectively, outer membrane vesicle (OMV) vaccines were developed. Gene manipulations have also led to the development of more efficacious tailor-made OMV vaccines due to over-expression of antigenic outer membrane proteins along with lesser pyrogenicity. Available data from preclinical studies in animal models and clinical trials, on meningococcal vaccine candidates report the strength of immune response measured by serological tests such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and serum bactericidal assay. Post-immunization adverse reactions have been also monitored as a part of safety assessment. The novelty of the present review lies in summarizing the outcomes of the preclinical animal studies and clinical trials conducted on various types of meningococcal vaccines till date and thereby highlighting the paucities in the existing information which can facilitate understanding the present scenario, challenges, and future scope in the field of meningococcal vaccine development.
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