Visit of the WHO Reference Laboratory for Pneumococcal Serology, UCL Institute of Child Health, London
I had the opportunity to visit the WHO Reference Laboratory for Pneumococcal Serology hosted by UCL. As indicated by its name, the laboratory is specialised in the measure of antibodies directed against pneumococcus (or streptococcus pneumonia), a bacteria causing pneumonia and meningitis in children. It provides a set of services to research centres and pharmaceutical firms working on/with the bacteria. For manufacturers developing a pneumococcal vaccine, the one bought through the Advance Market commitment (AMC), the laboratory can conduct standardised assays to assess the immune response - the level of antibodies quantified by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and their ability to kill the bacteria measured by opsonophagocytosis assay (OPA) - generated by immunisation in a randomised controlled trial for example. The standardisation of the measure is crucial because the results are presented in licensing applications where they are evaluated by regulators when they authorise the vaccine, making it a commercial product.
Below are pictures taken during the visit.