Developing the world’s first vaccine against the deadly Strep A bacteria

June 3, 2019

The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) and Australia’s Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) will coordinate a global push to free the world of Group A Streptococcus (Strep A), the contagious bacteria that kills half a million people every year and is developing resistance to antibiotics.

The British biomedical research foundation, the Wellcome Trust, has granted $2.25 million to IVI and MCRI to coordinate world efforts to develop a vaccine against Strep A and find manufacturers.

Director General of IVI, Dr. Jerome Kim, said that Strep A, a bacterial pathogen, is one of the most deadly infectious diseases  ̶  ranking with tuberculosis (TB), HIV, and malaria but globally very little had been invested in Strep A research.

The WHO prioritized a vaccine for Strep A in 2014, and in 2018 unanimously passed a resolution calling for action against rheumatic heart disease, including a vaccine against Strep A.

MCRI’s Head of Infection and Immunity, Prof Andrew Steer, said there were concerns in the scientific community about the effectiveness of antibiotics to treat Strep A in the future as groups of Strep A had evolved to be resistant to the antibiotics azithromycin and clarithromycin.

Work to raise awareness and build global support for the development of a Strep A vaccine is supported by the new Wellcome grant. Head of Vaccines at the Wellcome Trust, Dr. Charlie Weller, said that vaccines are hugely powerful in preventing the spread of infectious disease globally.

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Courtesy of Cellares
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