PREGNANT mums are being encouraged to take part in the study of a new vaccine to prevent baby deaths.

Southampton researchers are inviting pregnant women to help a study into a new vaccine that would protect their baby from potentially life-threatening Group B streptococcus (Group B strep).

The clinical trial in Southampton and London is investigating the best time to offer the vaccine to guard against the common bacterial infection.

The infection is common in women and is typically harmless but could be very dangerous for unborn or newborn babies.

It is responsible for nearly half of all life-threatening infections in newborns during the first three months of life.

It usually lives in the lower intestine (rectum) or vagina, and can infect babies during pregnancy and birth.

The vaccine is being developed by Danish company MinervaX.

The hope is that, by giving it to pregnant women, it will protect their baby during pregnancy and birth.

Dr Chrissie Jones, Southampton study lead, said: “A safe and effective Group B Strep vaccine would be a game-changer for newborn infants, both in the UK and globally.

“This is a significant infection in newborn babies, that can be life-threatening and can also cause long-term problems in those babies who recover from the infection.

“A vaccine against Group B Strep would be a massive step forward in our ability to protect newborn infants from serious infection. We are inviting pregnant women from the Southampton area to help us test this vaccine.”

The study is open to women who are pregnant without complications.

The study is being held in the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility, part of University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, and St George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in London.

Participants will start the study at about 20 weeks of pregnancy and be followed through six months after delivery.

There are 12 hospital visits in total including a screening visit. Volunteers can be reimbursed for travel costs.

For more information on the study, please contact

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