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Development of a Vaccine Against Neonatal Infections (DEVANI) logo






What is DEVANI?

DEVANI is an abbreviation of the title DEvelopment of a Vaccine Against Neonatal Infections. The aim of this European Commission Framework Seven project (HEALTH-F5-2007-200481), which began on 1st January 2008, is to provide useful information for the development of a vaccine against neonatal infections caused by Group B Streptococci (otherwise known as Streptococcus agalactiae or GBS). Public Health Institutes and Universities from Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom (Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections) are all participating in the project, with the objectives being realised through eight work packages within the programme. The study is coordinated by Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, Siena, Italy.

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What are Group B Streptococci (GBS)?

Group B Streptococci (Streptococcus agalactiae ) form part of the normal human flora (mainly in the gut), but under certain conditions they may act as opportunistic pathogens causing severe disease. GBS is a common constituent of the vaginal microbial flora with approximately 15-30% of pregnant women being colonised. Transmission to a neonate may lead to severe invasive disease such as sepsis, pneumonia and meningitis. GBS infections are the most common cause of meningitis in neonates, and pneumonia, meningitis and bacteraemia in the elderly.

The Project

Neonatal disease is associated with a lack of GBS antibodies in maternal serum.
The aim of this study is to identify the antibody protective level in a sample population in various European countries. The study will examine maternal antibody levels in mothers who are colonised with GBS, not colonised with GBS and from mothers who had a neonate with GBS infection. The sera and strains collected will be stored anonymously and used to determine the level of protective antibodies against different GBS serotypes. This will assist in understanding the potential protection of vaccine candidates currently under development.

Participation in the study is entirely voluntary and mothers are free to refuse the use of their serum in this study.