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3rd January 2014

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Why Meningitis That Hit Princeton Is Hard To Beat With Vaccines


The older, more common vaccine (which protects against strains A, C, W-135 and Y) works by training the body’s immune cells to recognize the sugar on the meningitis-causing bacteria as something bad, Orenstein tells Shots.
The same approach won’t work for the B-type bacteria.
When immune cells encounter the meningitis B sugar coating, they’re more likely to identify it as belonging to a friend rather than a foe, Orenstein says. They’re used to seeing the same sugar all over the human cells.
There are ways to teach our immune system that the meningitis B coating is bad, but that could be risky, he says. In the hunt for meningitis bacteria, the immune system could start attacking human cells by mistake.

Why Meningitis That Hit Princeton Is Hard To Beat With Vaccines

The older, more common vaccine (which protects against strains A, C, W-135 and Y) works by training the body’s immune cells to recognize the sugar on the meningitis-causing bacteria as something bad, Orenstein tells Shots.

The same approach won’t work for the B-type bacteria.

When immune cells encounter the meningitis B sugar coating, they’re more likely to identify it as belonging to a friend rather than a foe, Orenstein says. They’re used to seeing the same sugar all over the human cells.

There are ways to teach our immune system that the meningitis B coating is bad, but that could be risky, he says. In the hunt for meningitis bacteria, the immune system could start attacking human cells by mistake.

Tagged: Meningitis BVaccineBiologyScience

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    I’m way late on this story — it’s been months since we heard that Princeton was administering a new imported vaccine,...
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    The vaccine for meningitis B mentioned here is Bexsero, for those interested in looking up additional information...
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