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Spray vaccine to combat meningitis

Scientists are developing a nasal spray vaccine which could offer protection against meningitis and pneumonia, it was announced yesterday.

Children could benefit from the spray, which is based on tackling the bacteria pneumococcus. The vaccine will contain a substance called D4Ply, a fragment of a protein produced by nearly all the different types of the bacteria.

Researchers believe the new vaccine could be much cheaper to produce than those already on the market. Yesterday, the children's health charity Action Medical Research announced it had pledged more than £100,000 to the research, which is being carried out by scientists at the University of Liverpool.

Deputy director Dr Yolande Harley said: "Babies and children are vulnerable to infections. Meningitis and septicaemia... kill significant numbers of children in the UK each year. This is an important area of research which has the potential to protect many children from serious illnesses."