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The majority of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) in the developed world is caused by capsular group B Neisseria meningitidis, however success with vaccination against organisms bearing this capsule has previously been restricted to control of geographically limited clonal outbreaks. As we enter a new era, with the first routine program underway to control endemic group B meningococcal disease for infants in the UK, it is timely to review the key landmarks in group B vaccine development, and discuss the issues determining whether control of endemic group B disease will be achieved. Evidence of a reduction in carriage acquisition of invasive group B meningococcal strains, after vaccination among adolescents, is imperative if routine immunization is to drive population control of disease beyond those who are vaccinated (i.e. through herd immunity). The need for multiple doses to generate a sufficiently protective response and reactogenicity remain significant problems with the new generation of vaccines. Despite these limitations, early data from the UK indicate that new group B meningococcal vaccines have the potential to have a major impact on meningococcal disease, and to provide new insight into how we might do better in the future.

Original publication




Journal article


Critical reviews in microbiology

Publication Date



1 - 17


b Department of Paediatrics , Oxford Vaccine Group , Oxford , UK.