Research team

Centre for the Evaluation of Vaccination (CEV)

Expertise

During the past 10 years, we developed specific skills in conducting clinical trrials with vaccines in pregnant women. This is a vulnerable population, often excluded from trials. Therefore, we have built specific expertise in both the conduct of this kind of studies (recruitment, follow up...) as well as safety aspects of vaccine use in pregnancy, and acceptance of the strategy by the population. This results in specific skills regarding design, conduct and conclusions drawn from clinical trials in a specific population (both for public health and individual care). We have built a worldwide network for collaboration on all aspects of the strategy of vaccinating during pregnancy.

Assessment and follow-up of SARS-Cov-2 infection in pregnant women and neonates. 01/07/2020 - 31/12/2021

Abstract

The current coronavirus pandemic affects us all. As with all infections, certain subpopulations are more vulnerable to severe disease and even death and require therefore more research. In this pandemic, the elderly and immunologically fragile people are more prone to severe disease. Pregnant women and very young infants are traditionally also considered as immunologically different from the general population, certainly in view of infectious diseases. Since little to nothing is known to the scientific world of this new virus, researchers and health care personnel dealing with pregnant women and their neonates do have concerns on the risk they run. This project offers a unique opportunity to map the impact of the current pandemic in a vulnerable subpopulation of the society. The main objective of the project is to quantify the impact of the SARSCoV- 2 pandemic in pregnant women and their newborns/infants by assessing the rate of transmission, the overall health, mental well-being, immunological responses and clinical outcomes of clinicallysuspected and laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infections in pregnant women and their neonates. Data will be collected through online questionnaires that will be send to pregnant women at a 2 week interval until 8 weeks postpartum. This will enables us to monitor possible COVID-19 infections in pregnancy and to look at possible adverse outcomes in pregnant women, fetuses and neonates. At 12 months postpartum, women will be contacted again to look at possible long-term consequences of COVID-19 infections in pregnancy on infants. Additionally, pregnant women participating in the surveillance study will be asked to provide maternal and cord blood samples at delivery to measure the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 specific antibodies in pregnant women and newborns and to measure the transplacental transfer of SARS-CoV-2 specific antibodies from mother to infant during pregnancy. Data from this project will be used to formulate evidence-based recommendations on prevention, treatment and vaccination for COVID-19 in pregnant women and neonates. Additionally, this project will provide information for policy makers and experts in the field on public health measures and management of pregnant women and neonates during this pandemic.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Assessment and follow-up of SARS-CoV-2 infection in pregnant women and neonates. 01/06/2020 - 31/05/2021

Abstract

The current coronavirus pandemic affects us all. As with all infections, certain subpopulations are more vulnerable to severe disease and even death and require therefore more research. In this pandemic, the elderly and immunologically fragile people are more prone to severe disease. Pregnant women and very young infants are traditionally also considered as immunologically different from the general population, certainly in view of infectious diseases. Since little to nothing is known to the scientific world of this new virus, researchers and health care personnel dealing with pregnant women and their neonates do have concerns on the risk they run. This project offers a unique opportunity to map the impact of the current pandemic in a vulnerable subpopulation of the society. The main objective of the project is to quantify the impact of the SARSCoV- 2 pandemic in pregnant women and their newborns/infants by assessing the rate of transmission, the overall health, mental well-being, immunological responses and clinical outcomes of clinicallysuspected and laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infections in pregnant women and their neonates. Data will be collected through online questionnaires that will be send to pregnant women at a 2 week interval until 8 weeks postpartum. This will enables us to monitor possible COVID-19 infections in pregnancy and to look at possible adverse outcomes in pregnant women, fetuses and neonates. At 12 months postpartum, women will be contacted again to look at possible long-term consequences of COVID-19 infections in pregnancy on infants. Additionally, pregnant women participating in the surveillance study will be asked to provide maternal and cord blood samples at delivery to measure the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 specific antibodies in pregnant women and newborns and to measure the transplacental transfer of SARS-CoV-2 specific antibodies from mother to infant during pregnancy. Data from this project will be used to formulate evidence-based recommendations on prevention, treatment and vaccination for COVID-19 in pregnant women and neonates. Additionally, this project will provide information for policy makers and experts in the field on public health measures and management of pregnant women and neonates during this pandemic.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Assessment of pneumococcal immune response in infants whose mothers received Tdap vaccination during pregnancy. 24/11/2015 - 31/12/2016

Abstract

Blunting of infant immune responses to pneumococcal vaccines has been described after maternal pertussis vaccination. An ongoing prospective controlled clinical trial (clintrial.gov ID NCT01698346) at the University of Antwerp on pertussis vaccination during pregnancy, offers the opportunity to add evidence for this possible blunting effect by measuring pneumococcal antibodies in serum samples taken from infants after a primary series of 2 pneumococcal vaccine doses (2 and 4 months of age) and after a third vaccine dose (at 12 months of age). Infants are born from either vaccinated or unvaccinated mothers. The university of Antwerp will coordinate the project and the pneumococcal antibodies will be measured at the University College London, a reference laboratory of the World Health Organisation..

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Research team(s)

    Vaccine responses in infants after acellular pertussis vaccination during pregnancy in Thailand. 01/04/2015 - 31/03/2019

    Abstract

    This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the client. UA provides the client research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

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    Research team(s)

    Pertussis immunization during pregnancy: assessment of the role of maternal antibodies on immune responses in term and preterm infants: the MAMA study. 01/01/2015 - 31/12/2018

    Abstract

    The present study aims to give an answer on the lack of knowledge on immune responses in young infants (term and preterm born) to pertussis vaccines in the presence of high titers of maternal antibodies, induced by vaccination during pregnancy.

    Researcher(s)

    Research team(s)

      Assessment of the Neonatal hepatitis B vaccination Coverage & Attitude in the Mekong delta (ANBeCAM). 01/09/2014 - 31/08/2016

      Abstract

      The current ANBeCAM project envisages to set up a new partnership between Can Tho University of Medicine and Pharamacy (Vietnam) and UAntwerpen to assess the neonatal hepatititis B vaccine coverage in the region and identify possible solutions to increase the coverage.

      Researcher(s)

      Research team(s)

        Gastroenteritis in rotavirus vaccinated infants in Belgium and Vietnam: the effect of maternal antibodies through breastfeeding and the identification of (new) pathogens. 01/01/2014 - 31/12/2015

        Abstract

        This is a fundamental research project financed by the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO). The project was subsidized after selection by the FWO-expert panel. The objective of the FWO's Research projects is to advance fundamental scientific research.

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          The effect of pertussis vaccination during pregnancy. 01/10/2013 - 30/11/2016

          Abstract

          The present project aims to investigate the immunological effects of maternal pertussis vaccination during pregnancy in both women and infants in order to provide scientific evidence for the beneficial protective effect of maternal vaccination in both woman and infant. This will be conducted in 2 countries with different epidemiological conditions and vaccines (Belgium & Vietnam).

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          Research team(s)

            Measurement of maternal Pertussis IgA antibodies in breast milk after Pertussis vaccination during pregnancy 01/02/2013 - 31/12/2013

            Abstract

            Breastfeeding protects young infants through disease specific immune globulin A (IgA). Young infants are susceptible to pertussis and its complications. There is a gap of susceptibility between the loss of maternal protection and vaccination. Pertussis vaccination during pregnancy is currently studied as a possible strategy to close the susceptibility gap. The research question of this project is: does pertussis vaccination during pregnancy influence the pertussis specific IgA amount in breastfeeding? An ELISA test is available for IgA testing in serum. The first aim is to validate this test for use in breastfeeding samples, in collaboration with Prof De Meester, dept Farmaceutical Sciences, UA. In a second phase the influence of different manipulations of the samples is analysed. Finally the difference in total and pertussis specific IgA amount between 40 samples taken from vaccinated women compared to 40 samples from non-vaccinated women, is investigated. This pilot will be instrumental for a larger study on breastmilk samples at several time points during the first 6 months of life and will offer the opportunity to develop a new post-doctoral research line on the role of breast milk in infectious disease prevention which will increase the chances for obtaining a post-doc FWO mandate in 2013.

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              Maternal Antibodies against Mumps in a Cohort of children up to the age of 1 year. 31/01/2010 - 30/11/2010

              Abstract

              The present project will measure the amount of mumps antibodies in childhearing women and the duration of the presence of these mumps antibodies in their infants. The titer of anti-mumps antibodies in the women will depend on the vaccination status, the waning of the antibodies and the eventual boosters by wild type virus. The titer of passively acquired mumps antibodies will be determined by the titer in the mother.

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              Research team(s)