Seroepidemiology of maternally-derived antibody against Group B Streptococcus (GBS) in Mulago/Kawempe Hospitals Uganda - PROGRESS GBS

Gates Open Res. 2020 Nov 13;4:155. doi: 10.12688/gatesopenres.13183.2. eCollection 2020.


Background: Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a major contributor to the high burden of neonatal and young infant infectious disease in resource- limited settings. As disease protection during the first six months of life is provided via placental transfer of maternal antibodies, a maternal GBS vaccine may provide an effective strategy to reduce infectious death and disability. An efficacy study may be difficult because of the large sample size required and alternative approaches such as serocorrelates of protection based on natural antibody concentration are being considered. Such studies would need to be undertaken in high burden settings such as Uganda. We therefore aim to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of a GBS sero-epidemiology study in Kampala, Uganda. Methods: This is a prospective cohort and nested case-control study, conducted across two-centres with two entry points. A) consecutive women and their infants at birth, with collection of maternal swab, cord and maternal blood, and follow up by telephone until the infant is 3 months old; B) any infant under 3 months of age, presenting with signs of sepsis to any of the paediatric units, with collection of blood culture, cerebrospinal fluid and nasopharyngeal swabs. Any infants identified as having GBS disease (defined as GBS isolated from a normally sterile site) will be recruited and followed up for two years to assess their neurodevelopment. A nested qualitative study will investigate stakeholder (pregnant women and their families, healthcare workers and community leaders) opinions of sampling for such a study and understanding and potential uptake of vaccines in pregnancy. Discussion: The primary aim is to determine anti-GBS antibody concentration in infants with GBS disease compared to healthy controls. Secondary outcomes include stillbirth and all-cause infection and acceptance of sample methods and vaccination. The findings will inform scalability and sustainability of the programme in Uganda.

Keywords: Group B Streptococcus; Uganda; antibody; infant; neonatal sepsis; neonate; sero-epidemiology; vaccine.