MRF Symposium Webinar Series – presentations available to view now

04 Mar 2021

Meningitis: Five Key Questions Beyond 2020

In place of our regular Bristol Symposium, we ran our first ever series of virtual meningitis webinars at the end of 2020. The series began with a topical discussion on the impact of COVID-19 on meningitis in the UK and across the globe. World-renowned experts then explored future prevention strategies for GBS and pneumococcal meningitis, taking us through the latest vaccine developments. The series concluded with an update on progress of the WHO Global Roadmap to Defeat Meningitis by 2030, and how gonorrhoea may be the key to unlocking adolescent MenB vaccination.

You can still view the presentations from the series on the links below completely free of charge, from anywhere in the world.
How do we maintain and strengthen meningitis prevention to counteract the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare and immunisation programmes?
Chair Dr Joanne Yarwood, Public Health England

COVID-19 lockdown has seen a reduction in confirmed cases of bacterial meningitis in the UK, likely due to reduced person to person contact, but are such temporary decreases likely to be reversed by reductions in immunisation?
  • Impact of COVID lockdown on meningococcal and pneumococcal infections, and on infant and school immunisation programmes in the UK: what is the predicted impact on meningococcal carriage and disease? What strategies are there for catch up?  Dr Mary Ramsay, PHE
  • Current routine immunisation and immunisation campaigns around the world and how COVID has affected them; potential impact on scheduled MenA catch up campaigns in the African meningitis belt. Dr Imran Mirza, UNICEF
  • Modelled impact on control of meningitis in the African meningitis belt. Dr Caroline Trotter, University of Cambridge
  • Attitudes to vaccination in the COVID-19 era. Dr Pauline Paterson, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Click here to download the agenda and speaker biographies as a PDF.
14.00-15.30 - How should we protect babies against GBS now and in the future?
Chair Prof Paul Heath, St George’s University of London

GBS is estimated to kill 90,000 babies and could be responsible for as many as 3.5 million preterm births and 60,000 stillbirths around the world every year, but no vaccine is available to prevent it. What are the prospects for a vaccine, and what strategies should be used meanwhile to protect mothers and babies against GBS?
  • Testing vs risk-based antibiotic prophylaxis in pregnancy: where are we at? Dr Kate Walker, University of Nottingham
  • Rapid GBS testing for women in labour. Prof Jane Daniels, University of Nottingham
  • What expectant parents want. Jane Plumb, GBSSupport
  • Update on progress towards a GBS vaccine and pathway to licensure. Prof Kirsty le Doare, SGUL
  • Impact of GBS on long-term cognitive outcomes. Prof Joy Lawn, LSHTM
15.30-17.00 - What strategies will help to control the rise of non-vaccine-preventable pneumococcal disease and pneumococcal meningitis
Chair Professor Adam Finn, University of Bristol

There has been tremendous progress in preventing pneumococcal disease around the world - as of June 2020, 146 countries had introduced pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) into their national immunisation programmes. But in some countries that were early adopters of PCV, the number of non-vaccine-preventable pneumococcal cases is of concern. In older adults in the UK, for example, levels are nearly as high as we saw with vaccine preventable strains before vaccines were introduced.
  • Impact of PCV on invasive pneumococcal disease across the age spectrum in 10 EU countries. Dr Germaine Hanquet, EpiConcept, Brussels
  • Maximising the potential of PCV through smart scheduling. Dr Shamez Ladhani, PHE
  • Possible timelines/ impact of higher valence vaccines and developments on protein vaccines. Dr Mark Alderson, PATH and Dr Richard Malley, Harvard Medical School

Click here to download these agendas and speaker biographies as a PDF.
13.00-14.30 - Should we introduce adolescent MenB vaccine and will the WHO STI Vaccine Roadmap unlock this?
Chair Prof Ray Borrow, PHE

MenB incidence is relatively low in adolescents compared to infants in most countries. So far only South Australia has judged incidence to be high enough to warrant MenB vaccination for direct protection of teenagers. There is very limited evidence so far of impact of MenB vaccines on carriage in teenagers at school, reducing the likelihood of a herd effect through reduced transmission.
  • What we have learned from Australian studies of impact of Bexsero on carriage in teenagers, including possible consequences of reduction in carriage of non-capsular meningococci? Is an impact on carriage or carriage density more likely in countries/regions with higher baseline carriage?  An update on further studies, including gonorrhoea impact studies. Prof Helen Marshall, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Adelaide
  • Update from B on the Team study in UK schools amidst COVID-19 control measures. Dr Matthew Snape, University of Oxford
  • Possible impact of OMV component of MenB vaccines on gonorrhoea: the MenZB story in New Zealand, OMVs in Cuba and Quebec and subsequent studies. Dr Steve Black, Professor Emeritus, University of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital 
  • WHO roadmap connections (STIs and meningitis) and need for affordable vaccine. Dr Sami Gottlieb, WHO
14.30-14.40 Break  

14.40-16.10 - What progress has been made with the WHO global roadmap Defeating Meningitis by 2030?
Chair Prof James Stuart, WHO

Despite significant advances over the last few decades, meningitis remains a much-feared disease worldwide, presenting a major challenge for health systems, economies and society, with serious consequences for individuals, families and communities. Despite its severity and impact, progress against meningitis lags behind other vaccine-preventable diseases. A global strategy to defeat meningitis by 2030 is being developed by a WHO-led multi-organisation partnership.
  • Summary of the Defeating Meningitis roadmap and where we are now. Dr Marie-Pierre Preziosi, WHO
  • Potential for global impact of the Defeating Meningitis roadmap on meningitis. Dr Caroline Trotter, University of Cambridge 
  • ACWXY meningococcal vaccine trials, can carriage studies inform introduction strategy in the meningitis belt? Dr Matt Coldiron, Medecins sans Frontieres 
  • Point of Care tests for low and middle income countries, any closer? Dr Katya Fernandez, WHO
  • Impact of meningitis on people and families in higher and lower income countries: how can we best measure associated disability / quality of life impact and monitor improvements? Prof Nora Groce, University College London
Click here to download these agendas and speaker biographies as a PDF.
This webinar series is made possible thanks to support from GSK, Pfizer and Sanofi.

This webinar series is operated independently and GSK, Pfizer and Sanofi have no editorial control over its content.
Liz Rodgers
Research Projects Manager

Hi, I’m Liz and I’m MRF's Research Projects Manager.

If you’d like to know more about this area of MRF's work, do get in touch.

Tel: 0333 405 6258
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