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Development of an African adapted PCR algoritm to characterise non-group isolates of Neisseria meningitidis

  • Researchers:
    Dr Olivier Manigart, Prof Samba Sow
  • Start Date:
    01 August 2011
  • Category:
    Detection
  • Location:
    Centre of Vaccine Development, Bamako, Mali, Bamako, Mali
Development of an African adapted PCR algoritm to characterise non-group isolates of Neisseria meningitidis
Background: Characterization of Neisseria meningitidis’ is mostly usually done using Slide AgglutinationSeroGroup (SASG) tests. However, in Western countries, the use of PCR techniques has drastically improved the characterization of meningococcal strains. The MenAfriCar project will start large carriage studies in the African Meningitis Belt in 2010. A good PCR algorithm including less common H, 29E and capsule null (cnl) serogroups is needed to characterize meningococci isolated during these surveys.

Objectives: The goal of this study is to establish a PCR algorithm which includes serogroups A, B, C, X, Y and W135 but also, H, 29E and cnl serogroups to resolve non groupable isolates and to evaluate the prevalence of H, 29E and cnl strains.

Samples and methods: After designing new primers and probes for the H, 29E and cnl serogroups and confirming the validity of the existing ones from available African sequences, we will optimize the new technique with known samples from the UK Vaccine Evaluation Unit and the University of Oxford. Next, we will test all the samples that gave multi-reactive or non-interpretable results during MenAfriCar pilot studies which involve collection of 250 samples at seven sites in Africa. About 10% of the agglutination tests usually give multi-reactive non serogroupable agglutination results.

Main expected outcomes: Development of a good, cost –effective multiplex real-time PCR tool for characterization of A, B, C, X, Y and W135, H, 29E and cnl meningococci for use in countries of the African Meningitis Belt.

Beren Rowbotham
Meningococcal disease
Meningococcal disease at 10

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