New study in Bristol could help unlock MenB protection for everyone in the UK

New study in Bristol could help unlock MenB protection for everyone in the UK

24 October 2016

Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) has launched a new research project which will help to investigate whether the MenB vaccine affects carriage and transmission of meningitis causing bacteria in teenagers. 

The study by the University of Bristol, involving pupils from St Mary Redcliffe School, will look at new techniques for sampling and testing for the presence of meningococcal group B (MenB) bacteria in the back of the nose and throat. The results will help shape the UK government’s national research programme to explore whether vaccinating teenagers would be a cost-effective way of providing wider protection from MenB disease amongst all age groups.

Last September saw a world first in the UK with the introduction into the childhood immunisation programme of a vaccine against MenB disease - the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in the UK. Early indications are that the vaccine is doing an excellent job of cutting cases and deaths, but the vaccine is only available for the under-ones, leaving older age groups unprotected from this dreadful cause of meningitis and septicaemia.

MRF believes that teenagers hold the key to wider protection. Teenagers are more likely to carry the MenB bacteria than any other age group. If vaccinating teenagers kills the bacteria in the back of their noses and throats there will be less MenB bacteria in circulation. Less MenB bacteria means less cases of disease in all age groups.

The government says there is lack of evidence to vaccinate teens but has committed to funding a study looking into the effect of the MenB vaccine on carriage of MenB in this age group. This MRF-funded study will play a key role in initiating the research, by testing new methods that will inform the government backed study.

This project also has support in kind and some financial support from: Clinical Research Network (CRN) West of England, National Vaccine Evaluation Consortium (NVEC), University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) and NIHR Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU).

Sam Williams
Media Relations Manager

Hi, I’m Sam and I’m MRF's PR Manager.

If you want to know more about this story call me on 0333 405 626251, out of office hours on 07875 498047 or email me