Vaccines and Immunity

Lead Research Organisation: London Sch of Hygiene and Trop Medicine

Abstract

Too many young children continue to die of diseases that can potentially be prevented by vaccines, and we want to optimise the use of this potentially lifesaving intervention. In order to make the safest and most efficient vaccines, we have to understand well how the immune system of small children works, and we now have the tools to gather much deeper insights.
We use sophisticated technologies such as flow cytometry (to study cells), gene expression and proteomics (to study proteins) in the labs to analyse small blood samples taken during the conduct of our clinical studies. We can now study cells and blood components in great detail to understand their complex interactions and the impact of age on their composition. This is likely to matter for the way we design our vaccines.
The team is also exploring the safe use of vaccines in pregnant women as a tool to decrease illness and deaths in their newborn babies through the antibodies that get transmitted during pregnancy. We want to know, which germs make the babies ill, where they come from and how vaccines might be able to prevent these infections, for example Group B strep infection, which causes meningitis and blood poisoning.
A lot of children also suffer from TB, and we are working to make better diagnostics and to make sure that preventive measures that we already know can work are also actually implemented.

Technical Summary

The overarching aim of Prof Kampmann’s research is to improve the development and deployment of life-saving vaccines, in particular for the prevention of early life morbidity and mortality, but increasingly across the life-course of vaccination, with a specific focus on vaccination in pregnancy. As one of the three theme leaders at the MRC Unit in The Gambia, Prof Kampmann oversees all research activities in infant immunology, childhood tuberculosis and molecular diagnostics. The research ranges from basic laboratory research studying innate and acquired immune responses to infection and vaccination in pregnant women and infants through a systems biology approach to the conduct of clinical trials of novel vaccines, adjuvants and administration modalities. We are currently evaluating vaccines against pneumococcus, pertussis, meningococcus, HPV, Yellow Fever, malaria in a large number of phase 2,3 and 4 clinical trials. Our aim is to embed as much discovery science in the conduct of these clinical trials as feasible, and we have pioneered the use of small blood samples to derive big data in Africa. In addition, our work includes social science research into factors influencing uptake of vaccines in the African context and evaluation of tools for improving understanding and uptake of vaccines. As the director of IMPRINT- the IMmunising PRegnant women and INfants network, one of the 5 MRC-funded networks for vaccines (www.imprint-network.co.uk), and the Vaccine Centre at the LSHTM in the UK (https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/research/centres/vaccine-centre), Prof Kampmann has forged links with a growing number of vaccinology investigators in Africa. We are also working with WHO and UNICEF to investigate additional factors influencing maternal and neonatal health, such as investigating the aetiology of neonatal infections and their potential prevention through novel vaccines, such as against Group B streptococcus and other emerging pathogens.
Our childhood TB program currently extends into 4 African countries and employs transcriptomic and proteomic methodologies to advance novel diagnostics for childhood TB as well as forming closer interactions with national TB programs to enhance knowledge about childhood TB and implementation of preventive measures. It is closely aligned with the work on adult TB at the MRC Unit, which aims at the discovery of predictive biomarkers of risk to progression from TB infection to TB disease and studies of long-term outcome of TB patients.

Publications

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Basu Roy R (2019) Tuberculosis susceptibility and protection in children. in The Lancet. Infectious diseases

 
Description Membership in the Advisory Boards for WHO, BMGF and CEPI on maternal immunisation
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
Impact Our work in vaccines and particularly within the IMPRINT network has gained visibility at high levels and we have regularly acted as advisors to the WHO, BMGF, CEPI on issues relating to the implementation of vaccines in pregnancy. This is an ongoing process- an example is our contribution to the roadmap for the development of RSV vaccines for pregnant women, cited in the URL
URL https://www.path.org/articles/roadmap-advancing-maternal-immunization-against-rsv/
 
Description Participation in NIH workshop on reserach agenda for latent TB infection- represnted paediatric components
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
 
Description WHO prequalification of Pneumosil, a novel conjugated pneumococcal vaccoen where my team conducted the clincial trials in The Gambia
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
Impact The clincial trials conducted by my team in The Gambia have led to WHO prequalification of a novel much cheaper conjugated pneumococcal vaccine called Pneumosil, produced by the Serum Institute in India. This vaccine will cost a fraction of the currently available PCv10 and 13 and will change the support needed from GAVI once fully licensed, upscaled and introduced.
URL https://www.path.org/media-center/new-pneumococcal-vaccine-serum-institute-india-achieves-who-prequa...
 
Description NIH HIPC Consortium- EPIC study "Early Omic signatures can predict Infant vaccine responses"
Amount $12,000,000 (USD)
Funding ID NIH 5U19AI118608-02 
Organisation National Institutes of Health (NIH) 
Sector Public
Country United States
Start 01/2017 
End 01/2022
 
Description NIH- Biomarkers for Childhood TB
Amount $2,500,000 (USD)
Organisation National Institutes of Health (NIH) 
Sector Public
Country United States
Start 02/2020 
End 01/2024
 
Description NIH- Biomrker Award PI Levin
Amount $2,000,000 (USD)
Organisation National Institutes of Health (NIH) 
Sector Public
Country United States
Start 01/2018 
End 12/2023
 
Description PATH- Pneumosil trial
Amount $3,400,000 (USD)
Organisation PATH 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country Global
Start 03/2019 
End 07/2021
 
Description Thrasher Foundation
Amount $25,000 (USD)
Organisation Thrasher Research Fund 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United States
Start 04/2020 
End 04/2022
 
Description WANETAM- network
Amount € 2,000,000 (EUR)
Organisation European Commission H2020 
Sector Public
Country Belgium
Start 04/2018 
End 04/2022
 
Description Wellcome Trust Training Fellowship to Dr Anja Saso
Amount £350,000 (GBP)
Organisation Wellcome Trust 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2019 
End 08/2022
 
Description Centre for Infectious Disease Research, Zambia, Dr Roma Chilengi 
Organisation Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia
Country Zambia 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Roma Chilengi has been serving on our IMPRINT Executive Committee since August 2019
Collaborator Contribution Beate please add
Impact Further visibility for IMPRINT in Zambia
Start Year 2019
 
Description NIH grant for biomarkers of chidlhood TB diagnostics 
Organisation University of San Francisco
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution this recently awarded NIH grant will allow us ot contribute stored samples form the MRC program grant and GCRF award to the validation of childhood TB diagnostic markers and to prospectively recruit a new cohort of children with TB and community controls
Collaborator Contribution The grant is led by the colleagues from the University of San Francisco and we are research partners with a sub contract.
Impact none yet
Start Year 2020
 
Description UKRI-GCRF award for partenrship in chidlhood TB sequelae (just awarded) 
Organisation University of Liverpool
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This GCRF grant is held by my postdoc Dr Togun and myself at MRCG@LSHTM. We have small salary portions on it only as overall garnt small and money needed for the activities- hence we give time in lieu to set up this new collaboration to establish a platform to study lung outcome in chidlren who are/were affected by TB
Collaborator Contribution This GCRF award has established a partnership with Dr Kevin Mortimer at Liverpool University and his team. The grant is held at MRC Gambia at teh LSHTM. Whilst he has a small salary contribution, his team is contributing in kind in order to set things up for the more substantial application next year.
Impact not yet
Start Year 2020
 
Description WANETAM network 
Organisation West African Network for TB, AIDS and Malaria
Country Senegal 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution The WANETAM network is an EDCTP funded network across partners in West Africa. My group leads the TB workpackage which has created a platform for the conduct of childhood TB research and funds research and career development for paediatricians and NLTP in the region to invest in better diagnosis and management of childhood TB. Most activities are led by my post doc Dr Toyin Togun who achieved his PhD under the original program grant form MRC to myself, I therefore see this as an impactful outcome.
Collaborator Contribution Partners in 7 West African countries are making contributions by dedication time and personnel to the aim of the network package, which is to achieve better diagnosis and management of childhood TB in the region.
Impact ongoing, only started in 2019, training delivered, all Ethics through in all countries, MSc student appointed, database designed and shared- now recruiting
Start Year 2019
 
Description Engagement with local schoolchidlrne aroufn TB in the community 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Several schools have been invited to workshops and information sessions at the MRC Unit to talk about TB, the symptoms, stigma-related issues- these activities are led by a member of our team, Dr Owalabi, who also received small funding for Public engagement from the LSHTM.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020
 
Description Regular appearances on BBC, BBC World Service, BBC radio for vaccine related questions throughout the last 12 months 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I am a regular guest on various media channels, Victoria Derbyshire program, mainly BBC- there are too many to list individually. I have spoken about measles, HPV, corona virus and vaccine confidence, including in pregnant women.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020
URL https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-47787908
 
Description Speaking books debriefing workshop with Gambia EPI 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact In htis interactive workshop, we communicated the outcomes of a recent research project called the Speaking Books for Vaccines to members of the EPI program in The Gambia and the national immunisation committee members and regional health officers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description The Value of vacciens to soceities- a presentation in Valencia, Spain on invitation of the British Council 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact On invitation of the British Council, I presented on the topic of Value of Vaccines in society- do we really appreciate them? the session was held in the museum of Sciences in Valencia, Spain and is available on youtube. This was part of a regular open forum for general public organsied by the British Council in Spain.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiBam59ErFg
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiBam59ErFg
 
Description World TB Day in conjucntion with National TB Program the Gambia 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Each year our team collaborated with the National TB program in teh Gambia to stage events around World TB Day and to give visibility to all of the TB control activities. These events are always attended by national TV and radio and written up in national newspapers as well as publicised via the mRC comms channels. World TB Day is an international event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020
 
Description input into various newspaper articles from Guardian, Telegraph, Wellcome Trust, Herald, Daily Mail- not all listed individually 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I am regularly quoted by printed media on vaccine related issues- see for example

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/07/08/hpv-jab-boys-raises-hope-eradicating-cervical-cancer/
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020
URL https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/07/08/hpv-jab-boys-raises-hope-eradicating-cervical-cancer/