Characterisation of B-cell subsets and immunoglobulin sequence repertoires in infants immunised with human rotavirus vaccine in Malawi


  • Dr Khuzwayo Jere

    College of Medicine

Project summary

Diarrhoea is the second most common cause of death in children under the age of five, and rotavirus is the main cause of severe diarrhoea in children globally. Rotavirus vaccination has greatly reduced hospitalisations due to rotavirus in high-income countries but current vaccines are less efficacious in low and middle-income countries where the majority of rotavirus deaths occur. Poor understanding of how rotavirus vaccines induce immunity is a major obstacle to maximising the impact of the current rotavirus vaccines and the development of better vaccination strategies.

In this study, I will investigate how Malawian infants develop protection against rotavirus infections by examining the antibodies they produce after vaccination. New genetic sequencing technologies will be used to understand how groups of immune cells called ‘B-cells’ that produce antibodies respond to rotavirus vaccine. This work will be complemented by traditional immunological methods to determine the types of B cells that are stimulated in vaccinated infants.

The results of this research will inform the design of more effective rotavirus vaccines for use in populations in which current vaccines underperform, and may also help in the development of more effective vaccines for other infections for which similar problems have been identified.

This grant was awarded under the scheme's previous name of Training Fellowships in Public Health and Tropical Medicine.