£1.3m funding to continue vaccine research for pregnant women and newborns

UKRI awards funding to LSHTM-led IMPRINT network focusing on maternal and neonatal immunisation
"We can now continue to make progress on tackling the challenges associated with equitable access to safe and effective vaccines for pregnant women globally." Beate Kampmann, Professor & Director of IMPRINT, LSHTM

The IMmunising PRegnant Women and INfants neTwork (IMPRINT), led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), has been awarded nearly £1.3m by the UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) International Science Partnerships Fund (ISPF).

The grant will support the ongoing work of IMPRINT, which aims to answer fundamental scientific questions about how vaccines given in pregnancy improve maternal and infant health.  

IMPRINT has already deepened the understanding of immunisations in pregnant women and newborns, and had significant national and international impact on policy. Their work during the COVID-19 pandemic influenced guidelines for vaccination of pregnant women both within the UK and via international committees. 

IMPRINT's research also remains of great importance in tackling endemic infections, particularly in low-and-middle-income countries where infectious diseases remain the main cause of morbidity and mortality in infants, despite vaccination being the best option for prevention.

Beate Kampmann, IMPRINT director and Professor of Paediatric Infection and Immunity at LSHTM, said: “We are delighted that further funding for our network will allow us to build on the strong international relationships we've already developed.  

“Using vaccines in pregnancy is now a widely-recognised intervention to prevent morbidity and mortality in pregnant women and their children.  

“The renewed funding will allow us to deepen our understanding of vaccine impact on the developing immune system of newborns, for example, by applying novel systems biology tools to samples collected during our initial projects. 

"Furthermore, we can now continue to make progress on tackling the implementation challenges associated with equitable access to safe and effective vaccines for pregnant women globally."

IMPRINT is an inter-disciplinary network that brings together researchers from across 52 countries across 5 continents, with specialists in immunology, vaccinology, social sciences, industry, public health, and national and international policy.  

The network’s activities explore the immunological and implementation challenges associated with maternal and neonatal immunisations, such as: widening our understanding of antibody transfer across the placenta from mother to baby; studying vaccine effects on the newborn immune system; vaccine responses in later infancy and childhood; and addressing barriers to implementation.

Additional information  

IMPRINT is one of five Global Vaccine Networks receiving funding from UKRI's ISPF. The Global Vaccine Networks were established six years ago to enable UK and international researchers to share knowledge and experience to accelerate the development of new or improved vaccines, supporting projects and providing training for network members.  

The Networks have grown substantially since their establishment, in close partnership with low- and middle-income country (LMIC) researchers, supporting exciting new science and collaborations. Their crucial work will now be supported for a further two years with £6.3m of total funding granted by UKRI.

Read more about the announcement on the UKRI website

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