B Part of It protocol: A cluster randomised controlled trial to assess the impact of 4CMenB vaccine on pharyngeal carriage of Neisseria meningitidis in adolescents

Helen S. Marshall*, Mark McMillan, Ann Koehler, Andrew Lawrence, Jenny M. Maclennan, Martin C.J. Maiden, Mary Ramsay, Shamez N. Ladhani, Caroline Trotter, Ray Borrow, Adam Finn, Thomas Sullivan, Peter Richmond, Charlene M. Kahler, Jane Whelan, Kumaran Vadivelu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction South Australia (SA) has the highest notification rate of invasive meningococcal disease in Australia with the majority of cases due to serogroup B. Neisseria meningitidis is carried in the pharynx, with adolescents having the highest rates of carriage. A vaccine designed to offer protection against serogroup B (4CMenB) is licensed in Australia. The SA MenB vaccine carriage study aims to assess the impact of 4CMenB on carriage of N. meningitidis in adolescents. Methods and analysis This is a parallel cluster randomised controlled trial enrolling year 10, 11 and 12 school students (approximately 16-18 years of age) throughout SA, in metropolitan and rural/remote areas. Schools are randomised to intervention (4CMenB vaccination at baseline) or control (4CMenB vaccination at study completion) with randomisation stratified by school size and socioeconomic status, as measured by the Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (Australian Curriculum). Oropharyngeal swabs will be taken from all students at visit 1, and 12 months later from year 11 and 12 students. Students unvaccinated in 2017 will receive vaccine at the 12-month follow-up. Carriage prevalence of N. meningitidis will be determined by PCR at baseline and 12 months following 4CMenB vaccination and compared with carriage prevalence at 12 months in unvaccinated students. A questionnaire will be completed at baseline and 12 months to assess risk factors associated with carriage. The primary outcome of carriage prevalence of disease causing N. meningitidis at 12 months will be compared between groups using logistic regression, with generalised estimating equations used to account for clustering at the school level. The difference in carriage prevalence between groups will be expressed as an OR with 95% CI. Ethics and dissemination The study was approved by the Women's and Children's Health Network Human Research Ethics Committee (WCHN HREC). The protocol, informed consent forms, recruitment materials, social media and all participant materials have been reviewed and approved by the WCHN HREC and updated on ClinicalTrials.gov. Results will be published in international peer-reviewed journals and presented at national and international conferences. The study findings will be provided in public forums and to study participants and participating schools. Trial registration number ACTRN12617000079347. NCT03089086; Pre-results.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere020988
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Competing interests HSM is supported by a NHMRC CDF APP1084951 and is a member of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, Australian Government. HSM is an investigator on vaccine trials sponsored by Industry (GSK, Novavax, Pfizer). HSM’s and MMcM’s institution receives funding for investigator-led studies from Industry (Pfizer, GSK). HSM and MMcM receive no personal payments from Industry. CT has received a consulting payment from GSK and an honorarium from Sanofi Pasteur. RB performs contract research on behalf of Public Health England for GSK, Pfizer and Sanofi Pasteur. PR is an investigator on vaccine trials sponsored by Industry (GSK, Novavax, Pfizer). PR’s institution receives funding for investigator-led studies from Industry (Pfizer, GSK, CSL). PR has been a member of scientific vaccine advisory boards for Industry (Pfizer, GSK, Sanofi) but has not received any personal payments from Industry. AF’s institution is in receipt of research funding from GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and consultancy fees from Alios BioPharma/Johnson & Johnson, BioNet-Asia and VBI Vaccines. AF is a member of the UK Department of Health’s Joint Committee on Vaccination, Chair of the WHO European Technical Advisory Group of Experts and President of the European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases, which receives sponsorship for its annual meeting from vaccine manufacturers. KV and JW are employees of the GSK group of companies and hold shares in the GSK group of companies as part of their employee remuneration.

Funding Information:
Funding This study was funded by GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals SA.

Publisher Copyright:
© Article author(s) (or their employer(s) unless otherwise stated in the text of the article) 2018. All rights reserved. No commercial use is permitted unless otherwise expressly granted.


  • carriage
  • epidemiology
  • meningococcal disease
  • public health
  • randomised controlled trial


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