Novel vaccine effective against middle ear infection in young children

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A novel vaccine could help prevent middle ear infection in children under two years of age, according to a paper in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Otitis media (middle ear infection) accounts for nearly 20 million visits to a paediatrician every year in the USA. The bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae are the leading causes of infection. Although vaccines against S. pneumoniae exist, they are not effective enough in the age group where the disease is most prevalent--children younger than two years.

Roman Prymula (University of Defence, Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic) and colleagues tested a vaccine containing proteins from 11 different strains of S. pneumoniae attached to a protein derived from H. influenzae. 4968 infants were randomly assigned to receive the pneumococcal protein D vaccine (intervention group) or hepatitis A vaccine (control group) at the ages of 3, 4, 5 and 12-15 months. The investigators followed up the children at the end of their second year of life and found that there were 333 cases of otitis media in the pneumococcal protein D vaccine group and 499 in the control group. They also found that using the vaccine not only protected against pneumocccal otitis media, but also against middle ear infection caused by H. influenzae.

Dr Prymula states: "We found a reduction in ear, nose and throat specialist-confirmed episodes of acute otitis media by about a third in infants in the vaccine group compared with controls."

A novel vaccine could help prevent middle ear infection in children under two years of age, according to a paper in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Otitis media (middle ear infection) accounts for nearly 20 million visits to a paediatrician every year in the USA. The bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae are the leading causes of infection. Although vaccines against S. pneumoniae exist, they are not effective enough in the age group where the disease is most prevalent--children younger than two years.

Roman Prymula (University of Defence, Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic) and colleagues tested a vaccine containing proteins from 11 different strains of S. pneumoniae attached to a protein derived from H. influenzae. 4968 infants were randomly assigned to receive the pneumococcal protein D vaccine (intervention group) or hepatitis A vaccine (control group) at the ages of 3, 4, 5 and 12-15 months. The investigators followed up the children at the end of their second year of life and found that there were 333 cases of otitis media in the pneumococcal protein D vaccine group and 499 in the control group. They also found that using the vaccine not only protected against pneumocccal otitis media, but also against middle ear infection caused by H. influenzae.

Dr Prymula states: "We found a reduction in ear, nose and throat specialist-confirmed episodes of acute otitis media by about a third in infants in the vaccine group compared with controls."

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Contact: Roman Prymula, Department of Epidemiology, Faculty of Military Health Sciences, University of Defence, Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic. T) +420 602 488 620 prymula@pmfhk.cz


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