For over a hundred years Neisseria meningitidis has been known to be one of the major causes of bacterial meningitis. However, effective vaccines were not developed until the latter part of the 20th century. The first of these were based on purified high molecular weight capsular polysaccharides and more recently the development of glycoconjugate vaccines has made paediatric immunisation programmes possible. The prevention of group B meningococcal disease has remained a challenge throughout this period. This review charts the history of the development of meningococcal vaccines and the importance of serological correlates of protection in their evaluation.
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