Streptococcus pneumoniae is responsible for 1.6 million deaths a year. Current pneumococcal vaccines are effective against only a subset of strains, or serotypes, and identifying which serotypes are circulating in a population and causing disease is important when assessing the effectiveness of vaccine programmes.
The Institute’s BμG@S team has world-leading expertise in microbial genomics and developed a microarray-based molecular serotyping tool for S. pneumoniae. In an international methods evaluation, the molecular serotyping tool was the leading method, and proved highly effective at detecting multiple pneumococcal serotypes in complex clinical samples. This approach has been used globally, to support major pneumococcal vaccine development and surveillance programmes, with academic collaborators and commercial partners. Parallel applications for other vaccine-preventable diseases are ongoing for pathogens such as Haemophilus influenzae, Group B Streptococcus and Neisseria meningitidis.
To meet increasing demand, secure further investment and develop novel applications, a spin-out company was established. BμG@S Bioscience is a collaborative, not-for-profit enterprise, working with international pharmaceutical companies and NGOs. The initial focus is on molecular serotyping services but will further apply genomics technologies and integrated software solutions to support molecular surveillance of infectious diseases, addressing global health issues such as vaccine impact and antimicrobial resistance.
Kamng'ona AW et al. High multiple carriage and emergence of Streptococcus pneumoniae vaccine serotype variants in Malawian children. BMC Infect Dis. 2015;15:234. doi: 10.1186/s12879-015-0980-2
Kandasamy R et al. Multi-serotype pneumococcal nasopharyngeal carriage prevalence in vaccine naïve Nepalese children, assessed using molecular serotyping. PLoS One 2015;10(2):e0114286. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0114286
Satzke C et al. The PneuCarriage Project: A multi-centre comparative study to Identify the best serotyping methods for examining pneumococcal carriage in vaccine evaluation studies. PLoS Med. 2015;12(11):e1001903. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001903