Harmless Bacteria May Help Prevent Meningococcal Spread
A study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases suggests a new way to prevent outbreaks of meningococcal disease through nasal inoculation of the harmless Neisseria lactamica.
In the block-randomized human challenge study, researchers inoculated 310 college students with 10 colony-forming units of N. lactamica or a saline inoculation. They were monitored for 26 weeks, after which all students were reinoculated with N. lactamica and resampled two weeks after. In the control group, N. meningitidis carriage increased from 22.4% at baseline to 33.6% by Week 26. Two weeks after inoculation of N. lactamica, 33.6% of the challenge group were colonized with N. lactamica; the meningococcal carriage decreased from 24.2% at inoculation to 14.7% just two weeks after inoculation (-9.5%; P=0.006). A crossover inoculation in the control group showed the same result.
N. lactamica proved more portent in inhibiting meningococcal carriage than after a glycoconjugate meningococcal vaccination. N. lactamica and its components may be a future bacterial agent to suppress meningococcal outbreaks, researchers conclude.
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