What is this project about?
This study will evaluate the potential costs and benefits of introducing a GBS (Group B streptococcal) vaccine in the UK. GBS is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in newborn babies. Dr Caroline Trotter and her team will develop and use a mathematical model to describe the key aspects of GBS disease along with an economic model that estimates both the financial costs and benefits of preventing the disease through vaccination. They will search for the best available evidence to use in the model and will get further key evidence by following up babies recruited to a previous MRF funded study in 2010 to 2013 to find out about after effects 1-3 years after illness. All of this information will then be used to compare scenarios with and without vaccination and to identify the best vaccine strategies.
Why is this important?
A new vaccine is being developed to protect against meningitis and septicaemia caused by Group B Streptococcus (GBS) bacteria. Since GBS occurs in babies too young to be fully vaccinated, the vaccine would be given to pregnant women, if it is shown to be safe and effective in clinical trials. This is an important research study because it will help policy makers to decide whether and how best to use a GBS vaccine in the UK. Policy makers often use models like this to help make decisions about vaccines. Nowadays vaccines have to be shown to be cost-effective in order to be recommended for introduction to the immunisation programme. By doing this research now, the research team will also be able to identify any gaps in current knowledge so that our research team can suggest and design further research studies. In this way, we aim to ensure that all the evidence needed to make decisions about using the vaccine will be available.
Undertaking this work before the vaccine trials are finished will place us in an advanced position of preparedness to launch an immunisation programme, saving time and potentially saving lives.
The models will be presented at scientific conferences, published in scientific journals, and details will also be available for our members and supporters. We expect that the model will be considered as evidence by UK vaccine policy makers.