The overall aims of MenAfriCar are to establish a baseline of meningococcal carriage patterns across the meningitis belt of Africa before the introduction of a new meningococcal conjugate vaccine and to evaluate the effect of this vaccine on carriage and meningitis.
The consortium’s objectives can be divided into three main areas:
- Studying the pattern of meningococcal carriage in Africa
Because most meningococcal infections lead to harmless colonisation of the pharynx and not to serious disease, a full understanding of the epidemiology of this infection requires studies of carriage as well as meningitis and septicaemia. Members of the consortium are, therefore, studying risk factors for carriage, rates of loss and acquisition of carriage, and changes in the pattern of carriage over time in seven countries within the African meningitis belt.
- Studying the impact of vaccination on meningococcal carriage
Researchers originally intended to study subjects in Mali and Niger in order to determine the impact of the new serogroup A meningococcal conjugate vaccine on meningococcal carriage and meningitis when the vaccine was introduced in these countries in 2010. As this was not possible because of the very low incidence of serogroup A meningocccal infection in these countries, a similar study to determine the impact of the new serogroup A meningococcal conjugate vaccine on meningococcal carriage has been carried out in Chad instead.
- Capacity development
The Consortium’s activities include training young African researchers, developing partnerships, and building capacity for serology and molecular biology in Africa. Click here for more information.