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The B Part of It Study changed the game for research studies in Australia and across the globe.

B Part of It

237 Schools participated

34,400+ Students vaccinated

58,000 Jabs administered

Global Impact

Lead Investigator Professor Helen Marshall (centre) alongside two participating students.

The B Part of It study, led by The University of Adelaide, was a game-changing research study that resulted in lasting social impact for the protection of young people and the community against meningococcal B disease.

The study examined whether immunising a large community group with the licensed meningococcal B vaccine could reduce the spread of meningococcal bacteria in teenagers.

The B Part of It study was rolled out in stages across South Australia from 2017 to 2020. A total of 237 schools participated in the initial study, giving all year 10, 11 and 12 students in 2017 the opportunity to participate and receive the meningococcal B vaccine (Bexsero®) free. Following this, a School Leaver study was also conducted from 2018- 2020 to assess the potential impact of the meningococcal B vaccine on herd immunity for South Australian students who were in Year 12 in the preceding year.

The B Part of It study was the world’s largest meningococcal B vaccine study.

Legacy

The South Australian study protected more than 34,400 young people from meningococcal B disease, while contributing to global understanding of herd immunity and meningococcal immunisation programs.

The positive uptake of the study ensured vaccinations were available to school children in South Australia to protect them against meningococcal B disease.

The study was innovative and successful, thanks to the contributions of the many different organisations and partnerships involved across South Australia and beyond.

The results have informed meningococcal immunisation programs in other countries, so South Australians should feel proud to have participated in this globally important research. In addition, an estimated 15 cases of meningococcal disease in young people were prevented, and one to two deaths averted, by undertaking this study in South Australia.

The achievements of the B Part of It study are a testament to the South Australian organisations and individuals involved, from the students to the nurses to the academics; thank you for B-ing Part of It.

Recognition

Excellence in Research Collaboration Award at the SA Science Excellence and Innovation Awards in 2019

Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the highest-ranking journal in medicine

Published in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published in Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics

Published in Vaccine

Published in BMJ Open

Results

The results of the B Part of It Study have informed global research and understanding about meningococcal B disease, meningococcal carriage and immunisation.

As well as showing a significant reduction in meningococcal B disease in young people in South Australia, this study explored whether the meningococcal B vaccine could play a role in preventing transmission of bacteria and providing a herd immunity benefit. Ultimately, what was found was that the vaccine had no discernible effect on the carriage of the disease-causing meningococcal bacteria.

This highlights the importance of administering meningococcal B vaccine to individuals in high-risk age groups; herd immunity cannot be relied on to protect unvaccinated people against meningococcal B disease; infants and young people must be vaccinated to be adequately protected.

This study also uncovered some new and novel insights that the vaccine could provide protection against other closely-related bacteria responsible for other diseases, including gonorrhoea and meningococcal W disease.

The results of this game-changing study will influence meningococcal immunisation programs in other countries. Please see Resources to learn more.

Team

Led by the University of Adelaide in partnership with SA Health, this study was possible thanks to the collaborative relationships in South Australia across health, education, academia, industry and government.

Principal Partners

SA Health - Government of South AustraliaThe University of AdelaideGSK - Glaxo Smith Kline

Supported by

SAHMRI - South Australian Health & Medical Research InstituteAISSA - Association of Independent Schools of South AustraliaRobinson Research Institute - Healthy children for lifeSA PathologyCatholic Education South AustraliaDepartment for Education and Child Development - Government of South AustraliaSouth Australian Academic Health Science and Translation CentreAHTA - Adelaide Health Technology AssessmentLGA - Local Government Association of South Australia

Thank you

To get in touch with the people involved in the B Part of It Study and obtain more information about this impactful research, please email: helen.marshall@adelaide.edu.au