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Pregnant volunteers needed for research to prevent meningitis in newborns

Updated: Dec 29, 2021

Southampton researchers are looking for pregnant volunteers to join a study investigating how ‘good bacteria’ may protect babies from meningitis and other infections.

A team of scientists, led by Dr Anastasia Theodosiou, will give nose drops containing Neisseria lactamica to pregnant women and see if it can be detected in the nose or mouth of their babies after birth. The research will build understanding of how bacteria move from mothers to their babies.

‘Good’ vs ‘bad’ bacteria

Neisseria lactamica is a type of ‘good bacteria’ that is harmless and is found in over 40% of one- to two-year-old children, but is uncommon in newborns and adults.

It can prevent the ‘bad bacteria’ Neisseria meningitidis, which sometimes causes pneumonia and meningitis, from living in the nose and throat.

Eventually, the researchers want to find out if bacterial nose drops given in pregnancy can prevent infections in newborn babies.

They have tested these nose drops in over 400 healthy adults; they are safe and effective (they decrease Neisseria meningitidis in the nose and throat).

Taking part

The study involves five research visits (from 34 weeks pregnant until one month after birth) at University Hospital Southampton or in your own home.

Nose, throat and saliva swabs will be collected from you, and nose and saliva swabs from your baby. You will receive up to £100 compensation for your time and the inconvenience.

For more information, please contact the study team at or call 023 8120 4989 and ask about the Lactamica 9 study.

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