Researchers from Southampton have modified harmless bacteria which are closely related to the bacteria that are the most common cause of life threatening meningitis and septicaemia in the UK.
They hope the modified bacteria will be able to live inside the nose and generate an immune response that protects against meningitis.
Around 10% of adults carry the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis, commonly known as meningococcal bacteria, in the back of their nose and throat with no signs or symptoms.
However, in some people, the bacteria invade the bloodstream and cause life-threatening meningitis and septicaemia.
In a previous study, the research team found that inoculating adults with a ‘friendly’ bacterial species, known as, Neisseria lactamica (Nlac) which is a close cousin of N. meningitidis, resulted in Nlac settling harmlessly in the nose for months and prevented them carrying the potentially harmful N. meningitidis at the same time.