'Be Part of It' Study

Thousands of South Australian teenagers participated in the largest meningococcal vaccine research trial of its kind in the world, ‘B Part of It’, in 2017-2018 to investigate the vaccine’s impact on herd immunity against the potentially fatal meningitis B bacteria.

Led by Professor Helen Marshall AM, the trial investigated if the Bexsero® vaccine in teenagers reduced presence of meningococcal bacteria in their throats and reduced cases of meningitis. This trial is estimated to have prevented 15 cases of meningitis B among the teenage participants.

Immunisation nurses in the ‘B Part of It’ trial visited almost 35,000 students from 237 South Australian schools administering the Bexsero® vaccine and taking throat swabs. The 2019 follow-up “School Leaver” study recruited people aged 17-25 to collect annual throat swabs for three years to track carriage of meningococcal bacteria. The trial was a collaboration between the University of Adelaide, SA Health, South Australian Department of Education, and organisations across schools, health services, and industry in metropolitan and regional locations.

The results found that the MenB vaccine was highly effective at reducing meningococcal B disease, but the vaccine did not reduce the number of adolescents that carry the disease-causing meningococcal bacteria in their throats. The ‘B Part of It’ trial is now being extended across communities in the Northern Territory to see how effective the vaccine is against meningococcal carriage as well as gonorrhoea.

This story is published as part of the "15th Anniversary Celebration" series of the Robinson Research Institute. Highlighting the achievements and life-changing breakthroughs of our research teams.


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