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Wednesday received a license from New Zealand authorities for its meningococcal B vaccine.

The California-based biotech firm developed the MeNZB vaccine with health officials in New Zealand as well as Norway.

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Chiron said the vaccine was developed specifically to protect against the meningococcal B strain responsible for a 13-year epidemic in New Zealand, which has stricken more than 5,000 people and left hundreds dead or permanently disabled.

Meningococcal disease results from infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis, known as meningococcus. It usually affects the membranes around the brain and spinal cord or the bloodstream and can result in brain damage, blindness, deafness, limb amputations and death.

Chiron began with project with the New Zealand government in 2001.