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Genetics study reveals how bacteria behind serious childhood disease evolve to evade vaccines
Date:1/29/2012

ffect was a mixture of a large drop in frequency of the serotypes targeted by the vaccine with some growth in serotypes not targeted by the vaccine. The 13-valent vaccine was introduced in the UK in 2010.

Derrick Crook, Professor of Microbiology at the University of Oxford and Infection Control Doctor at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, adds: "Childhood vaccines are very effective at reducing disease and death at a stage in our lives when we are susceptible to serious infections. Understanding what makes a vaccine successful and what can cause it to fail is important. We should now be able to understand better what happens when a pneumococcal vaccine is introduced into a new population. Our work suggests that current strategies for developing new vaccines are largely effective but may not have long term effects that are as successful as hoped."

Dr Bernard Beall, a scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention commented: "The current vaccine strategy of targeting predominant pneumococcal serotypes is extremely effective, however our observations indicate that the organism will continue to adapt to this strategy with some measurable success."

The Wellcome Trust, which part-funded this research, views combating infectious disease and maximising the health benefits of genetic research as two of its strategic priorities. Dr Michael Dunn, Head of Molecular and Physiological Sciences at the Wellcome Trust commented: "New technologies allow us to rapidly sequence disease-causing organisms and see how they evolve. Coupled with collaborations with epidemiologists, we can then track how they spread and monitor the potential impact this will have on vaccine efficiency. This will provide useful lessons for vaccine implementation strategies."


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Contact: Craig Brierley
c.brierley@wellcome.ac.uk
44-207-611-7329
Wellcome Trust
Source:Eurekalert

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