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Pneumococcal meningitis vaccines and other stories . . .

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h2755 (Published 28 May 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h2755

Sisyphus, King of Corinth, was known to the Greeks as the craftiest of men. After he died, he played a trick on Thanatos (Death), chaining him up so that nobody could die. But as everyone knows, he didn’t get away with it, and was thereafter condemned to rolling a huge boulder uphill and watch it roll back down, pushing it back endlessly through eternity. Researchers should heed the fate of Sisyphus. His name is invoked in the title of an editorial (Clinical Infectious Diseases 2015, doi:10.1093/cid/civ371) that comments on our attempts to outwit that old friend of Death, Streptococcus pneumoniae. The trouble with current 13 valent vaccines is that their early success shows signs of waning as other pathogenic strains take over. This is illustrated in a study of pneumococcal meningitis in American children (Clinical Infectious Diseases 2015, doi:10.1093/cid/civ368). We need a universal pneumococcal vaccine.

As patients near the expected end of life, …

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