Meningitis and septicaemia are terrifying diseases that can strike anyone at any time without warning, killing one in ten, and leaving a quarter of survivors with life-long after-effects. Few illnesses in 21st century Britain can produce such mutilating injuries. This month alone 25 families will lose a loved one to meningitis. Our only hope of eliminating these diseases is through prevention -- developing effective vaccines. Two major types of meningitis have been almost eradicated by vaccination. But there is still no vaccine against Meningococcal Group B meningitis and septicaemia (MenB), the leading cause of life-threatening meningitis in the UK, which remains unchecked. In the meantime, delays in diagnosis can still contribute to tragic deaths. For this reason, the Foundation also funds research to improve treatment and diagnosis, and to improve the outlook for survivors.
It ran from 3:12 PM, 19 December 2008 to 8:13 PM, 11 June 2016
Registered Charity in England and Wales (1091105)
Meningitis Research Foundation aims to defeat meningitis and septicaemia through research. We currently fund 22 projects. Since 1989 the charity has awarded 122 research grants worth ¬£13 million, leading to many advances in the prevention, detection and treatment of meningitis and septicaemia. We only fund research of the highest scientific merit, with clear potential for preventing meningitis or benefiting people affected. Prevention: Our only hope of eliminating these diseases is through prevention -- developing effective vaccines. Two major types of meningitis have been almost eradicated by vaccination. But there is still no vaccine against MenB, the leading cause of life-threatening meningitis in the UK remains unchecked. Although there are MenB vaccines on the horizon, these will not provide universal protection. A number of even more deadly forms of meningitis and septicaemia cannot be prevented. So vaccine research is a top priority. Currently we have two projects evaluating the suitability of some of the leading MenB candidates for use in the UK immunisation programme while three vaccine discovery projects are looking for universal vaccine candidates for MenB and pneumococcal meningitis. Other projects are evaluating protection given by existing vaccines. Diagnosis and Treatment: About 10% of people who do get meningitis and septicaemia die of their disease, and a significant proportion of those who survive are left with permanent disabilities. Delays in diagnosis can still contribute to tragic deaths. For this reason, the Foundation funds research to improve treatment and diagnosis, and to improve the outlook for survivors. Current research into diagnosis and treatment includes a project studying damage to blood vessels in septicaemia that leads to amputations and scarring. While another project in Munich is seeking to develop nerve-stimulating drugs to prevent deafness caused by bacterial meningitis. Two further projects funded in Belfast and Texas are using cutting-edge molecular and genomic techniques to advance diagnosis of bacterial meningitis. Our Achievements ¬∑ Meningitis Research Foundation‚Äôs research led to the identification of the early ‚Äòred flag‚Äô symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia leading to prompt diagnosis and treatment. The Foundation has won numerous awards for promoting the ‚Äòred flag‚Äô symptoms to the public and health professionals. ¬∑ Our research revealed the optimal age to vaccinate a premature baby to ensure the most effective and long-lasting protection against specific strains of meningitis. The research contributed to the introduction of a booster injection for all babies at 12 months. ¬∑ Group B Streptococcal (GBS) kills approximately 500 babies in the UK a year. A simple dose of antibiotics given to the mother during labour can reduce the risk of a new born baby contracting GBS after birth. Our research resulted in pre-natal guidelines being developed to help health professionals identify high-risk mothers and advise them on antibiotic treatment to reduce the chances of GBS in the newborn baby. ¬∑ Pneumococcal disease kills around 1.6 million people worldwide each year, one million of whom are young children and infants. Our research project in Boston has resulted in the development of a low-cost vaccine suitable for the developing world where the disease is a major killer.
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