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, 63 (4), 435-453

Vaccine Development and Collaborations: Lessons From the History of the Meningococcal A Vaccine (1969-73)

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Vaccine Development and Collaborations: Lessons From the History of the Meningococcal A Vaccine (1969-73)

Baptiste Baylac-Paouly. Med Hist.

Abstract

Based on a wide range of historical sources, including published scientific literature and archives (Institut Mérieux, WHO and IMTSSA), this article examines the history of the development of the meningococcal A vaccine between 1969 and 1973. It explores the social factors of vaccine development including various collaborations, informal discussions, the circulation of products and materials, formal meetings, trials and setbacks to highlight the complex reality of the development, production and use of the vaccine. Inscribed in a 'Golden Age' of vaccine development and production, this episode not only adds to the scholarship on the history of vaccines, which has tended to focus on a narrative of progress, but also considers the sharing of knowledge through collaborations, and the risks involved in the development of a vaccine. Finally, this perspective reveals the uncertainties and difficulties underlying the production of an effective vaccine.

Keywords: Africa; Cerebrospinal meningitis A; Collaborations; Institut Mérieux; Meningococcal vaccine; World Health Organization.

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