Group B streptococcus (GBS) causes a high burden of neonatal and infant disease globally. Implementing a vaccine for pregnant women is a promising strategy to prevent neonatal and infant GBS disease and has been identified as a priority by the World Health Organisation (WHO). GBS serotype-specific polysaccharide - protein conjugate vaccines are at advanced stages of development, but a large number of participants would be required to undertake Phase III clinical efficacy trials. Efforts are therefore currently focused on establishing serocorrelates of protection in natural immunity studies as an alternative pathway for licensure of a GBS vaccine, followed by Phase IV studies to evaluate safety and effectiveness. Protein vaccines are in earlier stages of development but are highly promising as they might confer protection irrespective of serotype. Further epidemiological, immunological and health economic studies are required to enable the vaccine to reach its target population as soon as possible.
Keywords: Group B streptococcus; Streptococcus agalactiae; infant sepsis; maternal immunisation; maternal vaccines; neonatal sepsis.
© 2020 Carreras-Abad et al.