In the short term, the team will develop a unique database for researchers around the world that will contain whole genome data for individual patient-meningococcus pairs, alongside important clinical data.
Other studies have already identified individual variations in the human genome, mainly in genes encoding parts of the immune system, that are linked to disease outcome. Using the database, the team will investigate how these genetic variations lead to changes in the way they interact with their meningococcal counterparts.
Continuing advances in information technology should also allow more complex analyses to be performed, such as looking for genetic variations along whole pathways rather than restricting to specific genes that code for individual proteins.
As the meningococcal B vaccine is introduced, the database will also include any cases of MenB disease in children who have already been vaccinated, allowing invaluable insight into how the vaccine works and why vaccine failure has occurred.
In the longer term, the preliminary genomic analyses performed will allow for further work on interactions between bacteria and the people they infect, potentially enabling new vaccine targets to be identified.