Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) welcomes the news that clinical trials of a new vaccine to prevent Group B Streptococcus (GBS) infection have begun.
GBS is a leading cause of life-threatening meningitis and septicaemia in newborn babies worldwide.
GBS bacteria are very commonly carried in adults, and pregnant women who are carriers of the bacteria may pass it on to their newborns before or during birth.
In some countries, including the US, pregnant women are screened for GBS, and if they are found to be carriers of the bacteria, they are offered prophylactic antibiotics during labour to stop the bacteria being transmitted to their newborn baby.
This new clinical trial will evaluate the new vaccine, developed by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, in adults in the US. Another trial of this vaccine is also underway in South Africa, with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.