About B Part of It NT

B Part of It NT is a research study that aims to protect young people aged 14 to 19 in the Northern Territory from meningococcal B disease, by providing free vaccinations, (currently available to NT residents at a cost of approximately $300). The study will also measure any impact from the vaccinations in protecting individuals against gonorrhoea.

The study involves giving two doses of the meningococcal B vaccination (the Bexsero vaccine), as well as collecting two simple throat swabs from participants to test whether the meningococcal bug is present in the throat. The study will measure how the vaccination for meningococcal B impacts meningococcal carriage (bacteria found in the throat, not causing disease but able to be spread to other people) and how effective it is in protecting against gonorrhoea.

This study is taking place as there is evidence from around the world that the meningococcal B vaccination, not only protects individuals against meningococcal B, but is also protective against gonorrhoea. Meningococcal and Gonococcal diseases share much of the same genetic materials, and it is thought that the vaccination for meningococcal will protect against gonococcal disease. We want to test this in the NT.

The B Part of It NT study is being conducted by the University of Adelaide, in partnership with NT Health, AMSANT and the Commonwealth Government, and will aim to provide meningococcal B vaccinations and gather throat swabs from around 7,000 young people aged 14 to 19 years across the NT. This study has been approved by the Central Australian and Top End Human Research Ethics Committees and the Western Australian Aboriginal Health Ethics Committee.

The benefits of being involved in the B Part of It NT study

  • Participants will be provided with vaccinations for meningococcal B disease free of charge.
  • Participants will be part of world’s largest study to understand;
    • carriage of meningococcal B in adolescents
    • the impact of the vaccination against meningococcal B and
    • the impact of the meningococcal B vaccination against gonorrhoea, which the NT has the highest recorded rates in Australia. Complications of gonorrhoea include infertility; and there is currently no vaccination for this disease.

Getting involved in the B Part of It NT study is easy, and by participating in all aspects of the study, you will be helping provide invaluable information and research to help protect yourself and your community from the impacts of two devastating diseases. To reimburse you for your time, a voucher will be given at each of your three visits.

What is meningococcal B?

Meningococcal B germs (bacteria), often referred to as meningococci, can cause infections which may result in people becoming sick very quickly and may lead to severe health complications and even death.

The vaccination is recommended for children and adolescents but is not currently available as part of Australia’s National Immunisation Program. Currently in the NT, people need a prescription from a doctor for Meningococcal vaccine, and then will need to buy it from a pharmacy before being immunised. This costs approximately $300.

What is gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection that can affect both men and women. In some areas of the NT, the infection has been detected in up to 20% or almost 1 in 5, 15 – 19 year-olds who were tested. Gonorrhoea infection can lead to many health issues, and just three episodes of gonorrhoea in a woman can result in more than 50% risk of not being able to have a baby (infertility).

Our Partners

B Part of It NT is being rolled out through the University of Adelaide, in partnership with NT Health (Top End and Central Australian Health Services), NT Department of Education, AMSANT and the Commonwealth Government.

The lead investigators for the study are Professor Helen Marshall, and Professor James Ward, together with their teams.

You can find the full list of Investigators and Members of the International Scientific Advisory Committee here.

The study will be supported by:

The B Part of It NT study received funding from the Australian Government.