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The Children's Vaccine Initiative: Achieving the Vision
the committee's view, the United States can and should play a decisive role in achieving the vision of the Children's Vaccine' Initiative.
The development of the first meningococcal vaccine is a good example of how the DOD approaches vaccine development and how the committee anticipates the NVA to function. Outbreaks of meningococcal meningitis had been a major problem for the United States in the mobilization of troops overseas throughout the 20th century. But in 1963, sulfonamide-resistant strains of meningococci became widespread in military recruits in the United States. Isolation of infected personnel and easement of crowding did little to stem the epidemics. The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) responded by developing a major vaccine research and development program for meningococcal meningitis, under the leadership of Malcolm Artenstein. Over the next 6 years, the WRAIR conducted pioneering work on Group A, B, and C meningocci with a number of partners, most particularly the Rockefeller University. The WRAIR group was able to demonstrate both the technical feasibility of the vaccine and preliminary vaccine efficacy. The DOD was then able to attract private industry to invest in the manufacture and production of the vaccine. The meningococcal A and C vaccine is currently manufactured by private firms and sold to the DOD for use in military personnel.
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