Heartlands leading recruiters to research study

15 October 2018

Heartlands Hospital, part of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, is the leading recruiter to a national trial which is aiming to reduce the use of unnecessary antibiotics during labour.

The GBS2 trial, taking place across 16 Trusts in the UK, is testing the accuracy of a GeneXpert machine to see if women about to give birth have a bacterium called Group B streptococcus (GBS), and therefore whether they need antibiotics.

Currently 52 new mums have taken part in the trial at Heartlands, over half of their target number of participants.

Gemma Wooldridge, Research Midwife, said: “I’d like to thank Lucy O’Leary, Lesley Brittain and all the midwives at Heartlands who have helped us become the leading recruiter to GBS2.

“I’d also like to thank Carla Charles-Matron in the delivery suite for her support, our ‘top swabber’ Laura Sinamati, and the trial’s Principal Investigator Dr Pallavi Karkhanis.”

Although GBS is harmless for most people, if women in labour have it, then their babies may become ill, as their immune systems are not fully developed.

Currently antibiotics for GBS are given during labour if certain signs are met, but this may mean some women are given antibiotics for no reason. Reducing the use of antibiotics when they aren’t needed means they will remain effective for longer.

GBS2 is also testing the accuracy of the GeneXpert machine, by comparing results with the microbiology team, who have traditionally tested for GBS.

“All the results so far have been the same for the machine and through microbiology, so GeneXpert couldn’t be more accurate,” added Gemma.

“The GeneXpert machine gives us results in less than an hour, so we know whether antibiotics will be needed.”

The trial, led academically by Queen Mary University of London, is also funded through the National Institute for Health Research.

The results, expected next year, will be summarised by the Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit.