Update on group A streptococcal vaccine development

Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2020 Jun;33(3):244-250. doi: 10.1097/QCO.0000000000000644.


Purpose of review: There is a global need for well tolerated, effective, and affordable vaccines to prevent group A streptococcal infections and their most serious complications. The aim of this review is to highlight the recent progress in the identification of promising vaccine antigens and new approaches to vaccine design that address the complexities of group A streptococcal pathogenesis and epidemiology.

Recent findings: Combination vaccines containing multiple shared, cross-protective antigens have proven efficacious in mouse and nonhuman primate models of infection. The development of complex multivalent M protein-based vaccines is continuing and several have progressed through early-stage human clinical trials. Formulations of vaccines containing universal T-cell epitopes, toll-like receptor agonists, and other adjuvants more potent than alum have been shown to enhance protective immunogenicity. Although the group A streptococcal vaccine antigen landscape is populated with a number of potential candidates, the clinical development of vaccines has been impeded by a number of factors. There are now concerted global efforts to raise awareness about the need for group A streptococcal vaccines and to support progress toward eventual commercialization and licensure.

Summary: Preclinical antigen discovery, vaccine formulation, and efficacy studies in animal models have progressed significantly in recent years. There is now a need to move promising candidates through the clinical development pathway to establish their efficacy in preventing group A streptococcal infections and their complications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunogenicity, Vaccine
  • Streptococcal Infections / epidemiology
  • Streptococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Streptococcal Infections / prevention & control*
  • Streptococcal Vaccines / immunology*
  • Streptococcus pyogenes / immunology*
  • Streptococcus pyogenes / pathogenicity


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Streptococcal Vaccines