The BBC reported yesterday that the Bexsero Meningitis B vaccine has been rejected for use in the UK because it is not cost effective. This has caused some derision from charities such as Meningitis UK, the pharma industry (Novartis) and me! We have run clinical trials testing Bexsero in Southampton, and it is a crying shame that our hard work seems to be undermined by financial concerns.
After only recently gaining approval for use in the EU, it was expected that this new vaccine would provide clinicians with a weapon against a debilitating disease that is a killer. Bacterial meningitis occurs in about 3 people per 100,000 annually in Western countries, and is much more prevalent in poorer regions, specifically south America and North Africa. It is for these people that it becomes a priority to ensure this new vaccine can be produced cheaply enough to be effective nationally.
With tests showing the vaccine is effective against 73% of the different strains of the disease, how can this be considered not cost effective? Should we not do everything we can to prevent serious illness in our children?What are your thoughts on this issue?
My latest conundrum comes in the form of a recruitment dilemma: How to recruit those aged over 65 to clinical trials as healthy volunteers? Whilst social media is the new and funky medium of choice, it does limit the age range you are engaging with. Traditional media and communications outlets are struggling in this new digital age.
On the 28th of June I am taking part in a workshop with our PPI officer, asking elderly patients how would they like to be contacted about clinical trials. My gut feeling is that face to face recruitment will be top of the list. This method is time consuming and expensive. Are there any methods you would use?
Laura Clements @PPIinSCBR our resident Public and Patient Involvement officer, has organised another fantastic PPI workshop. Attendees will get a tour of the facility, meet research staff and have the opportunity to get Involved in the work that we do.
Lets be clear, ‘involved’ does not necessarily mean take part in a clinical trial. In fact, most of the people who are attending the workshop have already done this. Laura is looking to get people involved in the actual research, making it patient focused.
The UK Paediatric Vaccine Group (UKPVG) is an independent network of research institutions, which through collaboration aims to further education, training and high quality research in the field of paediatric vaccines.
A day of lectures by members of the group will give an overview of the work and progress of the last 12 months. Taking place in Lecture Theatre 2 South academic block, Southampton general hospital.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details about registration for the event.
We are running a study to look at the effect of omega-3 fatty acids from “fish oil” supplements in overweight people (Ethics Approval Number 11/SC/0384; Chief Investigator Prof P.C. Calder)
We are looking for volunteers who are:
– Aged 18 – 65 years… – Overweight but in general good health… – Willing to attend a clinic at Southampton General Hospital for a day on three different occasions spread over 3-4 months… – Willing to take a “fish oil” supplement daily for 3 months and to give a blood samples at the clinic visits – Willing to have a small fat biopsy taken from your lower abdomen on two occasions
You will be reimbursed for participation in the study and for reasonable travel expenses.
If you are interested in finding out more information about the study please contact Dr Caroline Childs on 023 8079 6925.
The number of people who are volunteering for clinical trials has trebled in the last 5 years. This is fantastic news for the UK and for the NIHR who have worked hard to engage with the public and patients. A campaign launched on clinical trial day (20th May) called OK to Ask, aims to encourage even more people to ask their clinicians about clinical research. There is a trial for everyone, whether you are a patient or healthy volunteer.
Finding a trial was made easier with the introduction of the clinical trial gateway, a search engine for trials in the UK. You can search your area, or for a particular condition that you are interested in.
The reasons people participate in clinical trials can be varied. Some patients hope that a new treatment can help their condition. Others just want to help out. The risks and benefits of participating should always be presented to you before taking part.
If you would like more information about Southampton clinical trials, visit our new website.