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Health Correspondent Samantha Poling reports
"Until recently meningitis C was the most common strain of the deadly meningococcal virus in Scotland"
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Friday, 14 April, 2000, 12:45 GMT 13:45 UK
Meningitis funding plea
Vaccine
Scientists say they are close to developing a vaccine
Scientists researching a deadly strain of meningitis are calling for urgent funding into the development of a vaccine.

Meningitis B is the most common form of the bacterium in Scotland, yet it currently receives no funding other than donations from charities.

The call comes as figures show the number of meningitis cases in Scotland is at an all-time high.


Pupil getting jab
There is an inoculation programme against meningitis C
Until three years ago, meningitis C was the most common strain of the deadly meningococcal virus in Scotland.

However, since 1997, there has been a shift in the pattern and meningitis B has since become the prevalent bug.

In the first three months of this year there have been 142 reported cases of meningitis, with 13 deaths - the B-strain making up 60% of all these cases.

The Scottish Executive is currently funding a three-year research project into the meningococcal C vaccine at a total cost of nearly 112,000.

It pays nothing towards developing a B-strain vaccine.

Work may go abroad

Scientists in Edinburgh are edging closer to discovering a vaccine but, without an urgent injection of cash, say their work could be jeopardised.

Dr Jan Braun, who heads a team of just three at Edinburgh University which has been trying to develop a vaccine for the B strain, said he may have to move abroad to continue his work.

His research has been funded so far by the charity, Meningitis Scotland.

Dr Braun said: "I would love to stay here if we find the money but I am not quite sure we can do it because we may not have the resources to continue the work we are interested in."

The Scottish Executive said it had not been asked for funding for B-strain vaccine research.

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See also:

28 Mar 00 | Scotland
Meningitis plea after boy's death
28 Mar 00 | Health
Meningitis cases fall
15 Nov 99 | Scotland
Meningitis programme under way
27 Oct 99 | Scotland
Meningitis jabs for Scots
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