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Expert Rev Vaccines. 2005 Apr;4(2):207-18.

Vaccination against group B streptococcus.

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Department of Child Health and Vaccine Institute, St George's Hospital Medical School, London, UK.


Streptococcus agalactiae (Group B streptococcus) is an important cause of disease in infants, pregnant women, the elderly and in immunosuppressed adults. An effective vaccine is likely to prevent the majority of infant disease (both early and late onset), as well as Group B streptococcus-related stillbirths and prematurity, to avoid the current real and theoretical limitations of intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis, and to be cost effective. The optimal time to administer such a vaccine would be in the third trimester of pregnancy. The main limitations on the production of a Group B streptococcus vaccine are not technical or scientific, but regulatory and legal. A number of candidates including capsular conjugate vaccines using traditional carrier proteins such as tetanus toxoid and mutant diphtheria toxin CRM197, as well as Group B streptococcus-specific proteins such as C5a peptidase, protein vaccines using one or more Group B streptococcus surface proteins and mucosal vaccines, have the potential to be successful vaccines. The capsular conjugate vaccines using tetanus and CRM197 carrier proteins are the most advanced candidates, having already completed Phase II human studies including use in the target population of pregnant women (tetanus toxoid conjugate), however, no definitive protein conjugates have yet been trialed. However, unless the regulatory environment is changed specifically to allow the development of a Group B streptococcus vaccine, it is unlikely that one will ever reach the market.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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