Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Researchers are working with schools around the county to find 24,000 volunteers aged 16 to 18 years to take part in the Be on the TEAM (Teenagers Against Meningitis) trial, led by the Oxford Vaccine Group at the Oxford University's Paediatrics Department with funding and support from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Amy Davis (pictured with fiancé Matt Jenkins) was 18 when she fell ill with meningococcal B septicaemia in 2011. Amy received urgent medical treatment which saved her life. During a long recovery period it was clear that septicaemia had affected Amy’s arms and legs and she later had to have her left leg amputated below the knee. Amy has welcomed a University of Oxford study, supported by the NHS, to see whether giving a group B meningococcal (MenB) vaccine to teenagers could help protect all ages from the potentially fatal infection. Photo credit: Meningitis Research Foundation.

The NHS is inviting teenagers to join the fight against meningitis by taking part in a study to see whether giving a group B meningococcal (MenB) vaccine to teenagers reduces carriage of this bacteria in their throat, potentially providing protection to all ages from this dangerous infection.

Bacteria in the throat can cause meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain) and septicaemia (blood poisoning), both of which can be fatal or cause long lasting damage. The age groups most at risk of meningitis are babies, pre-school children and teenagers. 

While 13 to 14-year-olds currently receive a vaccine against group A, C, W and Y meningococcus, immunisation against MenB is currently targeted at babies as they are at highest risk

All teenagers taking part in the study will receive two doses of a MenB vaccine. They will also have two throat swabs taken 12 months apart. The research team will look to see if the vaccines reduce the numbers of students carrying the meningitis-causing bacteria in their throat.

The trial will take place in three groups using two licensed MenB vaccines, 4CMenB (Bexsero) and MenB-fHBP (Trumenba). One group of 8,000 will get 4CMenB while another 8,000 will get MenB-fHBP. The vaccines will be given at the start of the study and six months later.

A further 8,000 youngsters will act as a ‘control group’ and not get the vaccine at first, so swabs can be taken 12 months apart and results compared to those who do get the vaccine, to examine the difference. The control group will get the 4CMenB vaccine after they have had the swabs taken, so they benefit from the protection it provides.

The trial is voluntary and will be conducted through schools in at least 14 towns and cities in England, Scotland and Wales with each enrolling students to one study group. Students can give their own consent. The study will be recruiting over 18 months from April 2018.


This is a really exciting opportunity for teenagers to ‘Be on the TEAM’ and take part in this important study, which is being funded and supported by the NIHR. Participants will not only get a vaccine that reduces their risk of meningitis but also help us understand if we can prevent the bug being carried and potentially spread to others. - Dr Matthew Snape, of the University’s Oxford Vaccine Group


Amy Davis, from Fleet, Hampshire, was 18 when she fell ill with meningococcal B septicaemia in 2011. She had gone to bed with what seemed like the flu but woke up in the night with severe aches and pains and feeling confused.

She later collapsed and an ambulance was called when her parents noticed she was deteriorating and slipping in and out of consciousness. Amy received urgent medical treatment which saved her life.  During a long recovery period it was clear that septicaemia had affected Amy’s arms and legs and she later had to have her left leg amputated below the knee.

Amy, now 25, said: “Meningitis and septicaemia is something nobody should have to experience. By taking part in this study young people will get the MenB vaccination.

“It will help protect them from the type of meningitis that almost killed me. I’m encouraging all those offered the vaccine to have it. It could save their life.” 

Vinny Smith, Chief Executive at Meningitis Research Foundation said, “It’s fantastic news that this study is now starting. Not only will it give a number of young people the chance to be protected against MenB, we’ll also find out more about the potential to protect the whole population because this age group play a key role in the spread of the bacteria to others.”

Dr Tom Nutt, chief executive of charity Meningitis Now, said:  “This important study is a chance for young people to make a real difference to not only their own health but that of their wider community.

“We’re delighted to see this vaccine trial being rolled out and would urge everyone who can to get involved and help make a real difference in the fight against meningitis.”

Similar stories

Oxford to work with Brazil to establish clinical research hub

The University of Oxford and Brazilian Ministry of Health have announced a joint initiative to set up a global health and clinical research unit in Brazil led by Professor Sue Ann Clemens CBE.

Phase I trial begins of new vaccine against the Plague

Researchers at the University of Oxford today launched a Phase 1 trial to test a new vaccine against plague.

Delayed second dose and third doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine lead to heightened immune response

Research on the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, also known as the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, indicates that a long interval between first and second doses does not compromise the immune response after a late second dose.

COVID-19 vaccine messaging that focuses on personal benefits is most effective with those who are hesitant

For the one in ten who say they won’t take a COVID-19 vaccine, messaging that focuses on personal rather than collective benefits is more effective.

How do nucleic acid vaccines work?

Ever wondered what happens inside your cells when you are infected with a virus? Or wondered how the new COVID-19 vaccines work? The answer to both of these questions can be found in how our cells receive instructions to make proteins. Actually, our cells are a bit like factories...

Increasing vaccine uptake among ethnic minorities

Dr Samantha Vanderslott and Dr Seilesh Kadambari discuss their collaborative approach to providing ethnic minority groups with information on vaccines.