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New GBS research project gets underway

New GBS research project gets underway

09 April 2014

Our latest GBS project, awarded funding in 2013, begins work this week. The project, which is looking at developing ways to assess potential Group B Streptococcal (GBS) vaccines, is being led by Dr Caroline Trotter at the University of Cambridge.

This study will evaluate the potential costs and benefits of introducing a GBS (Group B streptococcal) vaccine against the leading cause of meningitis in newborn babies in the UK.  Scientists will build a scenario or ‘model’ of the disease based on the best available evidence. This will include gathering vital information by following up babies from MRF’s previous neonatal meningitis study, completed in 2013, to find out about the impact of disease 1-3 years after illness. 

Models like this are fundamental to making decisions about introducing new vaccines. The recent experience in reaching a decision on the new MenB vaccine illustrates how important models are in pinpointing key information to show whether a vaccine will be cost-effective. In the UK, vaccines have to be shown to be cost effective in order to be recommended for introduction.

A new GBS vaccine is currently being tested in pregnant women and others are entering clinical trials. By developing a model for GBS now, the aim is to identify gaps in knowledge and to help ensure that all the evidence needed will be available and ready for use in time to make decisions about using any new GBS vaccine.

Dr Kyriaki Giorgakoudi, who is employed on the new study said “I’m delighted to start working on the project this week. Understanding the impact of GBS vaccines and the costs related to their introduction is important for policy makers in designing future strategies against GBS infection, and this work aims to fill this knowledge gap.”

Matthew Rich
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