MenAfriCar 2

In January 2013, thanks to a supplementary grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, work started on the second phase of the MenAfriCar project. The supplementary grant also allows laboratory work from the first phase to be completed at the University of Oxford and the HPA Vaccine Evaluation Unit.

A major lesson learnt by the MenAfriCar consortium has been the difficulty in isolating and correctly identifying capsulated meningococci from pharyngeal swabs when conventional microbiological methods are used, even by experienced scientists with strong support. A potential way round this problem is to use sensitive molecular techniques to identify the presence of meningocci on a swab. This approach is being explored by Olivier Manigart, the MenAfriCar consortium’s laboratory manager who moved in February 2013 from CVD, Bamako to the MRC Unit in the Gambia who has experience in this kind of work.