Taking part in Sore Throat Study was a no-brainer for Perth family

By Marnie Adams, Contributor @ Kids In Perth | Created in collaboration with Telethon Kids Institute 15 Sep 2022

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When Filomena Notte, a mum-of-five from Ballajura, saw a callout for families to consider enrolling their children for a simple sore throat study that could help global efforts combat deadly Strep A infections...she didn’t think twice.

 

Already a committed volunteer and big believer in contributing to the community, she asked herself whether what was being sought was something she and her family could do.

 

“I contacted the study team to find out more about what was involved and then thought ‘Of course we can do this – we’re able to do it, so why wouldn’t we?’” Filomena said.

 

“I figured they basically needed everyone they could get, and as a family we’re willing to do things like that.”

 

The Sore Throat Study – jointly run by researchers from the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne is looking to enrol 1050 healthy children and young people aged 3-14 across Perth and Victoria so they can find out more about the causes of sore throats and how to prevent them.

 

This study is an important first step towards a vaccine against the bacteria Strep A, which can be one cause of mild throat infections and impetigo (also known as skin sores or school sores). If left untreated, Strep A can lead to severe diseases which can cause heart and kidney failure, including rheumatic heart disease.

 

Participation involves one baseline visit with the research team followed by two seasonal check-ups, which can be done by a nurse (for Perth participants) at Perth Children’s Hospital or by parents in the comfort of home.

 

Each visit involves throat swabs and a blood test done via a simple finger prick test.

 

If the child gets a sore throat at some point during the period of their involvement, the team may arrange to collect extra samples and information.

 

The basic tests involved in the study were another motivating factor for Filomena when she decided to enrol her two youngest children, Isabella and Beau, then aged 11 and 8, as participants.

 

She thought it would be a good way to familiarise them with common healthcare procedures like throat swabs and blood tests.

 

“I wanted them to have this experience, knowing that their healthcare isn’t so scary,” she said.

 

“But I also thought it would be a great opportunity for them to be a part of something that is much needed for now and the future of our children’s health. I hadn’t realised before how serious Strep A actually could be.”

 

Isabella and Beau, now having completed their 12-month involvement, says they’re proud to think they could be helping to save lives in the future by simply contributing throat and blood samples.

 

“I feel happy to participate and knowing what I am doing is very important.” – Isabella, 12

“I feel very proud of myself for helping.” – Beau, 9.

 

Filomena encourages other parents to enrol their children in the study saying it wasn’t a huge commitment of time.

 

“All sorts of things can stop people from taking part in things like this, but if your kids are willing to do it and you’re able to do it – why not take the chance to contribute to research?” she said.

 

“I know my kids will always remember having done this.”

 

Head to www.asavi.org.au/get-involved/sore-throat-study to find out more about the Sore Throat Study and how to get involved.

Learn more about Strep A and this study below.

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FAQ | Learn More about Strep A

Video Credit: Telethon Kids Institute, YouTube Channel

About Strep A

Strep A bacteria (also known as group A Streptococcus, or Streptococcus pyogenes) can cause many different infections, ranging from minor illnesses to serious and deadly diseases. 

  • Strep A affects 750 million people annually, causing an estimated 500,000 deaths.
  • Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people have one of the highest rates of acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease caused by Strep A infection, with rates also alarmingly high in Maori and Pacific Island children.
  • The Australian Strep A Vaccine Initiative (ASAVI) is leading the global effort to develop a world-first Strep A vaccine. We’re determined to reduce the impact of Strep A infections, potentially saving millions of young lives and improving the health and wellbeing of our kids.
  • A Strep A vaccine will potentially reduce the 39 million cases of RHD and 300,000 deaths from it each year.
  • We are looking for children and young people to take part in the Sore Throat Study which is a critical first step towards a vaccine against Strep A.

Who is conducting the study?

The Sore Throat Study is carried out by the Australian Strep A Vaccine Initiative (ASAVI), an Australian-led global initiative with the goal of reducing the disease burden caused by Group A Streptococcus (Strep A) infection through effective vaccination.

ASAVI is a collaboration between Telethon Kids Institute and Melbourne’s Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI).

Does this study have ethics approval?

The Sore Throat Study has been approved by the Ethics Committee of Perth Children’s Hospital/Child and Adolescent Health Service and has Governance Authorisation at the Melbourne Children’s Campus, incorporating The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.

What does the study involve?

Baseline Visit

First visit takes place at one of the study sites located at the Perth Children’s Hospital, your child’s GP practice or in your home.

During this visit, they will collect important personal and health information from you and your child.

You'll have a one-on-one appointment with the study team who'll explain the study and answer questions you may have.

If you're happy to participate, you'll be given a consent form to sign.

They'll then collect some body fluid samples from your child to complete the visit. These will include a throat swab and blood sample taken from your child’s vein or via a fingerprick.

Seasonal Check-ups

The nature of sore throats, like the flu and other illnesses, is that they can change in severity and numbers of cases throughout the year depending on the season.

For this reason, the Sore Throat Study conducts two seasonal check-ups similar to the baseline visit.

Sore Throat Visit

If your child has had a sore throat they’ll ask you to complete a brief survey about their symptoms and arrange a visit with the study team to collect information and a throat swab.

If your child experiences a severe sore throat, they'll encourage you to make a GP appointment as well.

The study team will also arrange a recovery check-up visit following an episode of sore throat, to collect some additional samples and information if necessary.

Can my child withdraw from the project?

If you give your consent and later change your mind, that’s ok. You can stop your child’s involvement in the study at any time.

How long does the study go for?

The Sore Throat Study will follow your child for 12 months. The information collected will provide researchers with the necessary information needed to proceed with Strep A vaccine trials in both Melbourne and Perth.

streptococcus bacteria

Have more questions?

Simply click the button below to visit the ASAVI website or submit an enquiry.

Telethon Kids Institute - 14092022 - Feature Image - Sore Throat Strep A Study
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The Australian Strep A Vaccine Initiative (ASAVI)

ASAVI is a partnership between Telethon Kids Institute and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), led by Co-Directors Jonathan Carapetis and Andrew Steer. Together, we work closely with public health organisations, industry, academic partners and the International Strep A Consortium (SAVAC).

0422 581 816

   sorethroatstudy@telethonkids.org.au

Northern Entrance, Perth Children's Hospital, 15 Hospital Ave, Nedlands WA 6009, Australia

asavi.org.au

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