meningitis B vaccine trial

St George's, University of London is recruiting local school students as part of a major national trial for a meningitis B vaccine.

St George's, alongside St George's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, is the south London site for the ‘Be on the Team' trial, which involves recruitment from local colleges and schools. The study is aiming to recruit a total of 24,000 teenagers nationally over the next two years.

Meningitis B is a bacterial infection that most often affects children below the age of one. It is the most common form of meningococcal infection and causes around 1,200 cases a year in the UK. Since 2015, children under 12 months have been offered the vaccination.

The meningococcal bacteria are carried in the throats of teenagers and young adults, so by vaccinating students from Year 12 the trial aims to see whether we the vaccine can reduce this carriage and so protect the population better.

The local Principal Investigator is Paul Heath, Professor of Paediatric Infectious Diseases at the University. The trial is being led nationally by the Oxford Vaccine Group and is backed by funding from the National Institute for Health Research.

Professor Heath said: “We have visited two local schools who have agreed to participate and the response from their students was very positive. We will start vaccinating after the Easter holidays, and in the meantime will be approaching more local schools ahead of our next vaccination season in September.”