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WHO and IVI Host Global Consultation on Group A Streptococcal Vaccine Development

09 January 2017
IVI and WHO Host Global Consultation on Group A Streptococcal Vaccine Development

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) recently co-hosted the Global Stakeholder Consultation on Group A Streptococcal (GAS) Vaccine Development. The Global Stakeholder Consultation took place from December 12-13 at the Sheraton Seoul Palace Gangnam Hotel

The meeting convened international scientific experts, vaccine developers and funders to review evidence on GAS burden of disease and the need for a vaccine, and to discuss the feasibility and pathway for developing GAS vaccines. The meeting was in line with WHO’s goal to accelerate the development and licensure of high-quality, safe and effective GAS vaccines for low-and middle-income countries.

Group A Streptococcus (Streptococcus pyogenes) is a bacterial pathogen that causes a broad spectrum of disease ranging from mild infections such as strep throat which can lead to acute rheumatic fever (ARF). Acute rheumatic fever, if not addressed can progress to rheumatic heart disease (RHD) leading to progressive heart damage and death. The disease is often associated with lower development status and poverty, and is commonly found in Africa, the Subcontinent, the islands of the Pacific, and among vulnerable populations within high resource settings such as Australia and New Zealand. The WHO estimates GAS causes a substantial burden of disease and death globally, especially in low and middle-income countries where rheumatic heart disease and invasive infections are common. Globally over 400,000 people die every year from complications of infection. A vaccine is currently not available.

Speakers and participants included representatives from organizations such as PATH, Wellcome Trust, Prevent Canada, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, GSK, Pfizer, Sanofi, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, University of Auckland, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, University of Queensland, University of Melbourne, and University of Hawaii among others. Her Excellency Clare Fearnley, the New Zealand Ambassador to Korea, and Mr. Ravi Kewalram, Chargé d'Affaires of the Australian Embassy Seoul gave opening remarks on the first day.

The meeting was supported by Shinil, the Coalition to Advance New Vaccines against group A Streptococcus (CANVAS), RHD Action, and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. It is also the second in a series of annual global vaccine fora organized by IVI and supported by Shinil.

“The consultation provides an excellent opportunity to discuss, coordinate and mobilize resources and action at a global level to take concerted action against group A Streptococcus,” said Jerome Kim, IVI Director General, “The increasing body of evidence shows that the burden of GAS diseases and its linkage with poverty cannot be ignored. The global health community must work together to accelerate the development of a vaccine against this major killer.”

For further information:
International Vaccine Institute
IVI and WHO Host Global Consultation on Group A Streptococcal Vaccine Development
Development of a group A streptococcal vaccine

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International meeting convenes leading scientists and experts to accelerate development of vaccines against group A Streptococcus (GAS)