A newly developed MLVA seven-loci scheme for Streptococcus pyogenes is described. The method can be successfully applied by using both agarose gel with visual inspections of bands and Lab on Chip technology. The potential of the present MLVA has been tested on a collection of 100 clinical GAS strains representing the most common emm types found in high-income countries plus 18 published gap-free genomes, in comparison to PFGE and MLST. The MLVA analysis defined 30 MLVA types with ten out of the considered 15 emm types exhibiting multiple and specific MLVA types. In only one occasion the same MLVA profile was shared between isolates belonging to two different emm types. A robust congruency between the methods was observed, with MLVA discriminating within clonal complexes as defined by PFGE or MLST. This new MLVA scheme can be adopted as a quick, low-cost and reliable typing method to track the short-term diffusion of GAS clones in inter-laboratory-based surveillance.
Keywords: Group A streptococcus; MLST; MLVA; PFGE; S. pyogenes; emm typing.
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