Researchers Commence Clinical Trial Of Streptococcus A Vaccine
Researchers in Australia have begun human trials of a vaccine for Streptococcus A, the bacterium that causes rheumatic fever.
AsianScientist (Feb. 27, 2013) – Researchers in Australia have begun human trials of a vaccine for Streptococcus A, the bacterium that causes rheumatic fever. It is the same condition that former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd suffered as a child, and for which he underwent two surgeries to repair the damage to his heart.
The vaccine, which has been developed over more than 20 years by Professor Michael Good from Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics and scientists at The Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR), is based on part of a protein found on the surface of the Strep A bacteria.
“Previous studies have shown that the vaccine induces a very effective immune response in rabbits and mice,” said Prof. Good. “The next important step is to ensure that it is safe and does not cause any adverse effects in people, in particular that the vaccine itself doesn’t cause any heart damage.”
The head of QIMR’s Infectious Diseases program, Professor James McCarthy, will lead the year-long trial of 20 healthy adults in Brisbane, at the co-owned and co-located clinical trial facility, Q-Pharm.
Each volunteer will be given two doses of the vaccine, and participants will be monitored very closely for the next 12 months, explained McCarthy.
Repeated attacks of rheumatic fever can cause a build-up of damage to the heart valves, known as rheumatic heart disease. It is largely a disease of poverty, and a major issue in remote indigenous communities across northern Australia, where some of the highest rates occur in the world.
“Infection rates in remote indigenous communities in Queensland are among the highest in the world. Nine out of every ten people affected in this State are indigenous,” Good said.
The vaccine trial is funded by the Co-operative Research Center for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health.
Source: QIMR; Photo: Sanofi Pasteur/Flickr/CC.
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