Nepal | July 06, 2020

Scientists zoom in on bug behind Strep throat and scarlet fever

Share Now:

LONDON: Scientists studying a bacterium that causes scarlet fever, severe sore throat and a form of heart disease say they are closer to developing a vaccine that could one day prevent hundreds of thousands of infections a year.

In a study in the journal Nature Genetics, scientists from Britain and Australia found detailed differences between strains of Group A Streptococcus bacteria – known as Strep A – from 22 countries, but also found several molecular targets common across many strains, offering the potential for vaccine development.

Strep A is one of the world’s top 10 causes of death from infectious diseases. It is estimated to cause more than half a million deaths every year.

It can cause several different infections, ranging from Strep throat to scarlet fever, which are constant threats in many parts of the world, to an illness called rheumatic heart disease, which can affect certain populations including Aboriginal Australians.

There is no effective vaccine for Strep A, and efforts to develop one have been hampered by the huge number and variety of Strep A strains – meaning it is very tricky to develop a vaccine that could be effective against all of them.

In this work, researchers from Britain’s Wellcome Sanger Institute and Cambridge University, and from Australia’s Doherty Institute and Queensland University, sequenced the DNA of more than 2,000 Strep A samples from 22 countries, including in Africa and from Australian Aboriginal communities.

“Using all the data we collected, we narrowed down common genes in almost all strains of Strep A globally,” said Mark Davies of the Wellcome Sanger and Doherty institutes, who co-led the work.

“This is a tremendous step forward in identifying what may work as a global vaccine candidate.”

Mark Walker, director of the Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre, said the findings should “renew the momentum” and enable a fast-track approach to a global Strep A shot since potential drug developers could use the database to find the molecular targets most likely to lead to an effective vaccine.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Fertiliser crunch hits farmers in Siraha district

SIRAHA, JULY 4 Farmers, who have started paddy plantation, are facing shortage of chemical fertiliser in Siraha. Agriculture cooperatives are supposed to sell fertiliser supplied by the Agriculture Materials Company Limited and Salt Trading Corporations. But, farmers are facing paucity of fert Read More...

Govt turns deaf ears to demands of youths staging hunger strike

KATHMANDU, JULY 4 Two youths of ‘Enough Is Enough’ movement have been staging a fast-unto-death hunger strike for the past nine days, but the government has turned a deaf ears to their demands. Iih, 26, of Kathmandu and Pukar Bam, 30, of Kailali, who began their hunger strike from a Sattal Read More...

Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) building

Engineer booked for accumulating illegal assets

KATHMANDU, JULY 4 The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority yesterday filed a charge-sheet at the Special Court against Bharat Raj Acharya, an engineer at the Department of Roads. He has been charged with accumulating disproportionate assets worth around Rs 32.2 million. Ac Read More...

Pokhara International Airport

60 per cent work of Pokhara Regional International Airport completed

POKHARA, JULY 4 Almost 60 per cent construction work of Pokhara Regional International Airport has been completed. The China-based CAMC Engineering Company has been entrusted with the contract to complete the project by 10 July 2021. The estimated project cost is Rs 22 billion. Construction of Read More...

COVID victim’s body laid to rest amid obstruction

DAMAULI, JULY 4 After 12-hour obstruction by the locals, a body of 44-year-old man who died of COVID-19, was laid to rest in Ludi Dobhan, bordering Sahid Lakhan Rural Municipality and Gorkha Municipality in Gorkha at 6:00pm today. The man had died in Gorkha Hospital at 5:00am today. CDO Surend Read More...

Lockdown tightened in Lamjung

LAMJUNG, JULY 4 Lamjung District COVID-19 Crisis Management Centre today decided to open essential shops and businesses besides pharmacies from 5:00am to 12:00noon. A meeting of the centre took the decision in view of the rising COVID-19 cases in the district. Lamjung CDO Krishna Prasad Adh Read More...

Province 2

Quarantine facilities emptying in Province 2

JANAKPUR, JULY 4 The number of people staying in quarantine centres has been decreasing. As of last Thursday, the number of people quarantined in eight districts of Province 2 has gone down to 3,770. Two weeks ago, the number of people staying in 455 quarantines facilities of the province w Read More...

Dhankuta map

Opening of new park in Dhankuta delayed due to dispute

DHANKUTA, JULY 4 Even after the completion of construction work of Banjhakri Park months before the deadline, its scheduled inauguration couldn’t take place yesterday due to a dispute between the provincial and local government over the right to inaugurate the park in Dhankuta’s Mahalaxmi Mun Read More...