This year First West African Vaccine Summit organised by Pfizer seeks to find answers to the health burden of meningococcal and Pneumococcal diseases globally, medical experts in Nigeria have called for early diagnosis and vaccination in Paediatrics and adults in order to reduce the morbidity and mortality rate attributable to these diseases.
- Pfizer is commited to the management of Cardiovascular Diseases
- Pfizer Nigeria Improving healthcare through community partnerships
The specialist who consists of the creme de la creme from West Africa, spoke at the summit which had the theme “Ready for life”.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that Pneumococcal disease is the world’s number one Vaccine- preventable cause of death among infants and children younger than five years of age.
In view of this, the researchers, who spoke at the summit, decried the death of a large percentage of Nigerians from preventable diseases like meningitis and Pneumonia, with the availability of effective Vaccines to prevent the attacks.
The World Health body defines Meningitis disease as an infection of the meninges, the membrane covering the brain. Bacterial meningitis is very serious because it onset is rapid and the infection is associated with a significant risk of death; it may also result in mental retardation, deafness, epilepsy etc. It can be treated with appropriate antibiotics that also prevent spread. Keeping up to date with recommended Vaccines is the best defense against meningococcal disease.
Meningococcal meningitis is a Bacterial form of meningitis, a serious infection of the meninges that affects the brain membrane. It can cause severe brain damage and is fatal in 50 percent of cases if untreated.
Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by streptococcus Pneumonia (S. Pneumoniae) bacterium, also known as Pneumococcal infection can result in Pneumonia infection of the blood (bacteremia/sepsis), middle-aged infection (otitis media), or bacterial meningitis. It is caused by a common type of bacteria, the Pneumococcus, which can attack different parts of the body, illnesses caused by Pneumococcus include Pneumonia, meningitis, middle- ear and sinus infection, and a condition called sepsis, which is the infection of the blood stream.
Collaborating with this assertion, Medical lead, Anglo phone West African and East Africa, Pfizer Vaccines, Deshnee Achary said at the summit that meningococcal disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide with reported epidemics and outbreaks in different parts of the world.
Achary said despite the availability of antimicrobial therapy challenges remain in early recognition and prevention of the disease, and several Vaccines have been developed to date aimed at preventing disease spread.
She said MenACWY-TT (Nimenrix) have been extensively studied for use in different age groups and that phase 1 and 111 randomised trials have demonstrated it’s immunogenicity when administered in children aged one year and older, adolescents and adults.
Similarly, Professor of Medicine at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) ile- Ife, Osun State, Gregory Erhabor, said the global health burden attributable to Pneumococcal disease remains significant, particularly in children aged under five and adults aged over 65. Erhabor said Africa bears a large portion of this burden with the region having the highest global incidence and mortality rate of Pneumococcal disease in children younger than five years. He said addressing child Pneumococcal disease bring us closer to realising the fourth United Nations (UN) millennium development goals which pledges to reduce the mortality of children less than five years old by two- thirds.
Erhabor said the importance of disease prevention is paramount and clinical evidence have demonstrated that immunisation with Pneumococcal conjugate Vaccines (PCVs) results in reduction in the incidence of Pneumococcal disease.
The Professor of Medicine said the vaccine has been shown to be very helpful for sickle cell patients and persons with Human immunology deficiency virus (HIV) acquired immune deficiency virus (AIDS). Erhabor said there is a plan for development of guidelines for the use of Prevenar 13 for people living with sickle disease and HIV/AIDS.
Director of Corporate Affairs, Pfizer Nigeria and East African Region, Margaret Olele, Said PCV Prevenar 13 had demonstrated real world effectiveness against invasive Pneumococcal disease (IPD), Pneumonia; and Otitis media (ear infection). Olele said Prevenar 13 is generally well tolerated and has demonstrated safety profile and the first and only PCV approved from infancy through adulthood. She also said the company was passionate about research and development (R and D), and was working to bring the benefits of Vaccines into previously unexplored areas where success could be recorded, help usher in a new era of Vaccines innovation, prevention and treatment. She added that Pfizer world class Vaccines are produced by more than 500 global scientist with deep expertise in investigating and advancing unique Vaccines candidates to deliver the next wave of breakthrough to meet needs and help saves lives. It has made investments in developing world-changing Vaccines manufacturing expertise, sites and capabilities, she said”.
The Director of Corporate Affairs said the drug giant was working in areas, such as hospital acquired infections.
“At the same time, we are building on our leadership in Pneumococcal and meningococcal disease prevention. Our unique investigational Vaccine-based immunotherapy Regimen (VBIR) brings the science of Vaccine research out.
“Pfizer is also developing an experimental PCSK9 Vaccine, designed to induce the body to produce it’s own antibodies. It is seeking to develop a cytomegalovirus (CMV) Vaccine to prevent diseases that can have a devastating and lifelong impact on young children and they are accessible and affordable,” Olele further stated.
Delivering a paper titled: “Expanded age BOM Pneumococcal/PCV 13 expanded indication “, Dr. Osi – Ogbu Ogugua, Chief Consultant and Head of Geriatric/ Endocrinology unit at the National Hospital Abuja, identified chronic liver disease, predisposing factors to invasive Pneumococcal disease.
A Paediatrican at the college of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Oyo State. Dr. Adejumoke Ayede, said Prevenar 13 is one of the conjugate Vaccines that cover the stereotype that can cause Pneumonia and is the best that can give the wider spectrum. Ayede said ” It reduces morbidity and that is why the medical profession is really excited that this has come not only is it effective it’s also cost effective and there is also what is called the head effect that if you treat a child or a sick person in the family, you prevent a disease. To keep everybody safe so it is a matter of not just vaccinating some people and the whole community is protected.
One of the major high points of the summit was the launch of Pfizer’s Nimenrix in Nigeria.