Student volunteers could provide answers to mysteries of disease transmission

09 November 2010

In its worst form, Meningitis is virulent and often deadly. Developing a vaccine to help prevent the spread of the disease is of global importance, and is one of the five goals of the Institute for Vaccine Design. Professor Andrew Pollard, James Martin Senior Fellow at the Institute, is also Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, and is leading a team there that is running a clinical trial to help develop a meningococcal vaccine. Students are at a higher risk for developing meningitis, as close living quarters encourages the spread of the bacteria that causes the disease. This study will assess whether this vaccine can reduce the frequency of carriage of this bacteria in students’ throats, and therefore the risk of meningitis to the community. Students aged 18-24 are invited to take part in this study, which will be enrolling students over the next few weeks and runs for 12 months.

Alison Stibbe, Head of Communications and Partnerships at the Oxford Martin School, recently interviewed one of the vaccine trial's lead researchers, Dr Matthew Snape, about the importance of the study and its research goals. You can read the interview on the School's Blog, and find out more about the difference this clinical trial will make to our understandings of meningitis and to developing an effective vaccine.