Lessons from the Meningitis Vaccine Project

Viral Immunol. 2018 Mar;31(2):109-113. doi: 10.1089/vim.2017.0120. Epub 2017 Nov 8.


From 2001 to 2017 the Meningitis Vaccine Project (MVP), a Gates Foundation funded partnership between PATH and the World Health Organization (WHO), successfully developed, tested, licensed, and introduced an affordable new Group A meningococcal conjugate vaccine, MenAfriVac, in sub-Saharan Africa. The vaccine was well received, and from 2010 to 2016, over 260 million Africans have received a dose of the vaccine in campaigns largely directed at 1–29-year olds. The public health impact has been dramatic with the elimination of Group A meningococcal infections wherever the vaccine has been used at public health scale. Over its 16-year life span, MVP faced many challenges, and lessons were learned that may be of interest to other groups seeking to develop vaccine products for resource-poor countries. We have chosen to highlight six elements that were keys to the success of the project: (a) country and African regional engagement during all phases of the project; (b) the evolution of the WHO/PATH partnership; (c) funding the introduction of MenAfriVac in meningitis belt countries; (d) regulatory challenges; (e) clinical trials in Africa and India; and (f ) the realities of vaccine development partnerships.

Keywords: meningitis; partnership; vaccine development.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Africa South of the Sahara / epidemiology
  • Drug Discovery / economics
  • Drug Discovery / organization & administration
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs / economics*
  • Immunization Programs / organization & administration*
  • Meningitis, Meningococcal / epidemiology*
  • Meningitis, Meningococcal / prevention & control*
  • Meningococcal Vaccines / immunology*
  • Meningococcal Vaccines / isolation & purification*
  • Neisseria meningitidis, Serogroup A / immunology*
  • World Health Organization


  • MenAfriVac
  • Meningococcal Vaccines