Serum's meningitis vaccine can withstand temperatures of up to 40 C

A meningitis vaccine, known as MenAfriVac, created by the Serum Institute of India to meet the needs of Africa's meningitis belt, has now been approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for use in locations that lack refrigeration, researchers said.

The India-made meningitis A vaccine can be kept in a controlled temperature chain (CTC) at temperatures of up to 40 C for up to four days, a breakthrough, which could help combat the disease in poor countries.

The innovative vaccine also costs less than $0.50 per dose, dramatically reducing the disease burden in the countries that introduce it.

The vaccine would also help increase campaign efficiency and coverage while saving on funds normally spent on maintaining cold chains.

The review and decisions of the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has been supported by a Health Canada analysis and confirmed by the WHO Vaccines Pre-qualification Programme, Godwin Enwere, medical director for the meningitis vaccine project revealed this during the ASTMH conference in Atlanta.

MenAfriVac is the first vaccine designed specifically to combat meningococcal A epidemics in Africa's ''meningitis belt,'' which includes 26 countries from Senegal to Ethiopia.