By Sapphire Hope, Third year, Politics and International Relations
Scientists at the University of Bristol are using a new technique to develop a vaccine against Group A Streptococcus (GAS) to combat meningitis.
Currently, there is not an available vaccine to protect against the infection, otherwise known as Invasive Group A Streptococcus (iGAS).
Three Professors from the School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine are leading the investigation: Dr Alice Halliday, Dr Anu Goenka, and Dr Darryl Hill.
Often found in the throat or on the skin, symptoms of group Strep A are usually mild and can be treated with antibiotics.
However, the infection produces highly contagious bacterium which can sometimes lead to more serious diseases such as scarlet fever, meningitis, or rheumatic fever.
The research will be conducted using the tonsil organoid model.
This will involve the in-lab growth of cells from tonsils of patients who have had them surgically removed.
The immune response will then be measured to gauge which bacterias could be used for a successful vaccine.
The trial is funded by Spencer Dayman Meningitis Research.
The charity was founded in 2002 by Dr Steve Dayman MBE whose son Spencer died of meningitis and sepsis at just 14 months old.
Dr Dayman said: 'Pioneering research such as this has always proven to be the starting point towards the development of successful vaccines.'
In a statement to the BBC, Dr Goenka said: 'We are very grateful to Spencer Dayman Meningitis Research for their generous financial support to enable us to undertake this important project.
'The project will offer unique insights into the nature of the adaptive immune response to iGAS.'
Featured image: Wikimedia Commons
Do you think this is a breakthrough development in the battle against meningitis?