A brief review on Group A Streptococcus pathogenesis and vaccine development

Sowmya Ajay Castro, Helge C. Dorfmueller (Lead / Corresponding author)

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32 Citations (Scopus)
351 Downloads (Pure)


Streptococcus pyogenes, also known as Group A Streptococcus (GAS), is a Gram-positive human-exclusive pathogen, responsible for more than 500 000 deaths annually worldwide. Upon infection, GAS commonly triggers mild symptoms such as pharyngitis, pyoderma and fever. However, recurrent infections or prolonged exposure to GAS might lead to life-threatening conditions. Necrotizing fasciitis, streptococcal toxic shock syndrome and post-immune mediated diseases, such as poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis, acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease, contribute to very high mortality rates in non-industrialized countries. Though an initial reduction in GAS infections was observed in high-income countries, global outbreaks of GAS, causing rheumatic fever and acute poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis, have been reported over the last decade. At the same time, our understanding of GAS pathogenesis and transmission has vastly increased, with detailed insight into the various stages of infection, beginning with adhesion, colonization and evasion of the host immune system. Despite deeper knowledge of the impact of GAS on the human body, the development of a successful vaccine for prophylaxis of GAS remains outstanding. In this review, we discuss the challenges involved in identifying a universal GAS vaccine and describe several potential vaccine candidates that we believe warrant pursuit.
Original languageEnglish
Article number201991
Number of pages17
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number3
Early online date10 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2021


  • Group A Streptococcus
  • M protein
  • gas vaccine
  • pharyngitis
  • rheumatic fever
  • toxic shock syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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