A new research study into how meningitis develops in young adults could lead to a new vaccination programme which tackles the bacteria at source. Student volunteers across Nottingham aged between 18 and 24 are being sought for the study — part of a nationwide clinical trial.
Meningococcal meningitis is caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis, which around a quarter or more of young adults carry in their throats. Students are particularly at risk of becoming infected due to the close proximity of other students in shared accommodation.
A nationwide research study into how meningitis vaccines tackle these bacteria is looking for first and second year university student volunteers across the country — and 300 are needed from Nottingham.
The clinical study — conducted through the National Health Service Clinical Research Network and sponsored by the pharmaceutical company Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics — looks at the investigational Meningococcal B recombinant (4CMenB) and UK-licensed MenACWY Conjugate (Menveo®) vaccines and a control vaccine. Menveo® is licensed in the UK and the investigational 4CMenB vaccine has been studied in over 5,000 infants and 1,500 adolescents.
We already know that when these vaccines are injected into young adults, antibodies are produced in the blood which can protect against meningitis. However, we need to know whether these vaccines can also act by stopping the Neisseria meningitidis bacteria from colonising the throat. This information is important because it tells us to what extent the use of these vaccines will result in ‘herd immunity’ — the process whereby a vaccine works by limiting a pathogen’s spread through a population.
It is hoped that the vaccine could reduce meningitis disease by stopping transmission between the throats of young people. If so, this information would help public health policy makers to decide how to best use these vaccines to reduce the incidence of meningitis amongst young adults.
Volunteers would need to visit the Cripps Health Centre on University Park six times over 12 months as part of the study. Vaccine injections will be administered during the first two visits, and for some at the final visit, and throat swabs will be taken at all six visits. Volunteers will receive financial reimbursement at each visit. All volunteers will remain anonymous.
Dr David Turner, Clinical Associate Professor in The University of Nottingham’s School of Molecular Medical Sciences, is leading the study in Nottingham.
The study is supported by the Clinical Microbiology Department and the Trials Pharmacy at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.
“This is an important study which will help to determine how effective the new MenB vaccine is likely to be in practice,” Dr Turner explained. “We hope that the MenB vaccine will dramatically reduce the number of people who carry these potentially dangerous bacteria in their throats, and this in turn will almost eradicate this devastating disease”
For more information on the study, or to sign up, visit www.studentvaccine.co.uk/
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More information is available from Dr David Turner on 0752 8125035 (mornings), firstname.lastname@example.org; or Internal Communications Manager Tara de Cozar in the University’s Communications Office on +44 (0)115 846 8545, email@example.com
The University of Nottingham research labs are available as filming and photography locations. It may also be possible to interview Dr Turner and/or student volunteers signed up to the study at the University’s Cripps Health Centre. Contact Dr Turner at the details above for more information.
Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Times as “the nearest Britain has to a truly global university”, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings.
The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 39,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power.
The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.