Group A Streptococcus (GAS), Streptococcus pyogenes, is the biggest infectious killer that no one has heard of. The concerning global disease causes an estimated 18 million people to suffer, and 517,000 deaths with 1.8 million new cases annually. A great proportion of the disease lies in low- and middle-income countries, which makes it not necessarily a bigger problem, but a bigger priority. The greatest burden is due to rheumatic heart disease, but invasive GAS diseases also contribute significantly, together with acute rheumatic fever, rheumatic heart disease and post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis. GAS pharyngitis is a contributor to global antibiotic use.
There is a significant global need to reinforce current control strategies and develop new primary prevention strategies including vaccines. On 31 May 2017, the Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO) proposed a Resolution on ‘Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease' for adoption at the Seventy-first World Health Assembly in May 2018. Although many recombinants, multivalent vaccine candidates have been developed, there has been little financial investment beyond early-stage clinical studies, and no major manufacturer has a GAS vaccine program.
In line with its mission, Strep A Vaccine Global Consortium (SAVAC) is formed and convene representatives from the health sector to facilitate the development of GAS vaccine. The SAVAC is expected to enact and enable the R&D roadmap, and to create the public health value proposition with WHO. From development to delivery, the SAVAC will be a stepping stone on the way to an endless horizon of a safe, globally effective, and affordable GAS vaccine.
The first SAVAC stakeholders meeting organized by the SAVAC Executive Committee (chaired by Dr. Jerome Kim, Director General of IVI, and co-chaired by Prof. Andrew Steer, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute) and the IVI Secretariat was held on March 11, 2021. The virtual meeting gathered more than a hundred participants from all over the world.
The objectives of the meeting were to review the SAVAC achievements and work in progress, discuss critical issues of Strep A vaccine development—which includes burden of disease, vaccine safety, correlates of protection, vaccine landscape, business case and investment case as components of a full value of vaccine assessment—seek advice and recommendations on next steps and increase awareness and interest of funders.Read more...
"Open Heart" is the story of eight Rwandan children who leave their families behind and embark on a life or death journey to receive high-risk open-heart surgery in Africa's only free-of-charge, state of the art cardiac surgery hospital, the "Salam" Centre run by the Italian NGO Emergency.
Where a Sore Throat Becomes a Death Sentence
Neighbors whisper that she is pregnant, a disgrace for a young, unmarried woman. The rumors mortify her. She hates her swollen belly. But Florence Ndimubakunzi is not pregnant. Her heart s failing. “It’s a disappointment,” Florence said. ‘The entry point is heart failure’ by Denise Grady
The 71st World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO), was attended by delegations from all WHO Member States. The Assembly focused on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board including Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Hearth Disease of which Group A Streptococcus (GAS) is the precipitating cause. The government of New Zealand led the drafting process to develop the Resolution, stated: ‘the facts and figures are clear.’...Read more...
The very first description of GAS was made by an Austrian surgeon, Theodor Billroth, in 1874, when he discovered the organism in cases of erysipelas and would infections. In 1879, Louis Pasteur isolated the microorganism from the uterus and blood of women with post-labor uterine infections known as puerperal fever. He further demonstrated that the streptococcus was the etiological agent responsible for the disease that caused the highest mortality rates of women and newborns at that time....Read more...