Strep B trial at Bedford Hospital reaches incredible 1,000 participant milestone

Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is also known as Strep B and 1 in 4 pregnant women/birthing people carry it, usually without knowing. If you have Group B strep whilst pregnant, your baby will usually be healthy but there’s a small risk it could spread to your baby during labour and make them ill (1 in 1,750 pregnancies) and an extremely small risk that you could miscarry or lose your baby.
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The GBS-3 trial, led by Nottingham Clinical Trials Unit (NCTU) and funded and supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), is testing a new way of screening expectant parents for Strep B to find a way to reduce the risk of harm to babies.

The national trial compares different types of screening to assess whether this reduces the risk of Group B Strep infection in newborn babies, compared with current standard testing. This will help researchers determine the best time in the pregnancy to administer treatment.

This important trial launched at Bedford Hospital in March 2023 and as of November 2023, 1,000 participants have been recruited. This momentous achievement is thanks to the joint efforts of both the Maternity and Research & Development teams working in partnership.

Group Photo.Group Photo.
Group Photo.

In July 2023, Principal Investigator Liliana Grosu and then Research Midwife Alexandra Gurton even held the position of 2nd best recruiter in the UK for the GBS-3 trial!

At Bedford Hospital, women/birthing people are offered an antenatal swab which is processed in the lab and if the test is positive, they are offered antibiotics in labour.

During the dedicated celebration event for this milestone held on 18 January 2024, the team shared the wonderful news that there are now 1,220 women and birthing people registered. Therefore, a new target of reaching 1,350 participants by March 2024 has been established.

Tara Pauley, Head of Midwifery at Bedford Hospital said: “I am so proud of all the team’s inspirational motivation to support research in the clinical setting. This important national research trial has been such a success due to everyone’s commitment across a number of departments, and will further add to the evidence base for best outcomes for babies.”

Lead Clinical Research Nurse for Bedfordshire Hospitals, Melchizedek Penacerrada said: “After a long and arduous journey into GBS-3, I’m so pleased and humbly honoured, not only, that we have reached more than a thousand participants in this research trial, but most of all that we have an opportunity to have had a huge part in saving babies’ lives.

“I cannot thank our Trust Executives, Communications, Maternity, Microbiology and Research teams enough!”

Dr Muhammad Nisar, Director of Research & Development said: “It has been fantastic to support such an important study at Bedfordshire Hospitals! The team worked tirelessly and achieved an incredible feat. What's impressive is that it has led to change in service design with huge potential to deliver better clinical care - this is what research is about. Well done to everyone involved and we look forward to achieving the next milestone.”