Trial of Group B meningococcal vaccines in adults

Vaccination against the main cause of meningitis and septicaemia in the UK and Ireland.

Scientific version
  • Researchers:
    Prof David Goldblatt, Prof Liz Miller, Prof Ray Borrow
  • Start Date:
    01 April 2001
  • Category:
  • Location:
    HPA Centre for Infections, London, UK, HPA Vaccine Evaluation Department, London, UK
Trial of Group B meningococcal vaccines in adults

What is this project about?

There are two arms to this project. The main focus is to investigate MenB vaccines in development and look at how they can be more effectively evaluated. Researchers are looking at the latest MenB vaccine from Novartis, along with the MenB vaccine developed for a New Zealand outbreak caused by a particular strain of MenB, and are developing laboratory tools to evaluate their ability to stimulate a protective immune response.

The second part of this project is focused on trialling two vaccines (MenACWY and 4CMenB) in laboratory staff who work with the bacteria and are potentially at risk of contracting meningococcal disease. Researchers are testing how effective the vaccines are at producing effective and wide ranging immunity.

Potential outcomes

Several new vital laboratory assays will be developed to help in the evaluation of MenB vaccines.  

The trial study will provide vital information to inform future decisions on the use of these two vaccines in the UK: use of 4CMenB to prevent meningococcal B disease and MenACWY for travel or at risk personnel to replace a previously used polysaccharide tetravalent vaccine.

Why is it important?

Meningitis is uncommon enough that true efficacy trials of vaccines, where you measure how much disease occurs in vaccinated and un-vaccinated people, are not possible before implementation.  To demonstrate efficacy for a disease that normally affects 3 people per 100,000 per year, it would be necessary to vaccinate far too many people.  

This is why it is so crucial to find alternative ways to trial MenB vaccines in development. Both by developing laboratory based methods to show whether vaccinated individuals are protected and by conducting trials in more at risk groups of people.


Several scientific papers have been published as a result of this work.

Clin Diagn Lab Immunol August 2005
R Borrow et al
Interlaboratory standardization of the measurement of serum bactericidal activity by using human complement against meningococcal serogroup b, strain 44/76-SL, before and after vaccination with the Norwegian MenBvac outer membrane vesicle vaccine.

Infection and Immunity August 2006
J Findlow et al
Comparison and correlation of neisseria meningitidis serogroup B immunologic assay results and human antibody responses following three doses of the Norwegian meningococcal outer membrane vesicle vaccine MenBvac.

Clinical and Vaccine Immunology January 2007
D Boutriau et al
Immunogenicity and safety of three doses of a bivalent (B:4:p1.19,15 and B:4:p1.7-2,4) meningococcal outer membrane vesicle vaccine in healthy adolescents.

Clinical and Vaccine Immunology  March 2007
J Findlow et al
Investigation into the use of colominic acid as an absorbent to facilitate the use of complement preserved baby rabbit serum in the Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B serum bactericidal antibody assay.

MenB vaccine

Find out about the latest developments and what you can do to help here.

Kathleen lost her legs to meningococcal septicaemia

Target amount


Donated so far


So far £0.00 has been raised for this project including these recent donations...
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