• First vaccine for Strep A on the horizon
    Helge Dorfmueller (Credit: University of Dundee)
  • The University's School of Life Sciences building (Credit: University of Dundee)

Research News

First vaccine for Strep A on the horizon

May 02 2024

The University of Dundee are leading an initiative to develop the first vaccine for Strep A as part of a £2.3 million project funded by the RIGHT Foundation.

Researchers from the university’s School of Life Sciences are teaming up with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine: South Korea’s International Vaccine Institute and Gyeongbuk Institute for Bio-Industry, to develop the first recombinant glycoconjugate vaccines for the bacteria.

“Strep A is a deadly pathogen, but at present there is no vaccine against these bacteria,” said Dr Helge Dorfmueller Principal Investigator at Dundee and lead scientist of the collaboration. “Our preclinical data shows that our novel approach can deliver a universal Strep A vaccine that is affordable for all.”

The Foundation’s Product Development Award will enable the University to expand its patented engineered methodology which fuses together the Strep A carbohydrate and pathogen specific proteins – both Strep A vaccine candidates – on specific sites of the protein. This will produce a “dual hit” vaccine, prompting antibodies to respond to both parts.

Group A Streptococcus – or Strep A, kills more than 500,000 people each year according to the World Health Organisation (WHO); in 2022 at least five European member states including the UK, saw an increase In Strep A infections which claimed at least 30 lives, causing widespread public concern.

“We know that if Strep A is left untreated, then it can prove fatal. A vaccine for Strep A offers a crucial solution to enhance the lives of millions of people worldwide,” added Dr Dorfmueller. “We are excited to partner with our distinguished new collaborators, which will allow each of us to push the boundaries of our research and bring new hope to anyone at risk of Strep A disease.”

Professor Brendan Wren, Co-Director of the Vaccine Centre at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, added, “Group A Strep bacteria cause devastating disease, particularly in children. We look forward to working with the University of Dundee and the International Vaccine Institute to develop affordable Group A Strep vaccines using novel technology, particularly for individuals in low income countries where they are most needed.”

The RIGHT Foundation is an international public-private partnership funding agency in Korea, supporting global health R&D with the goal of improving global health equity through a partnership between the Government of Korea, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Korean Life Science companies.

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