image credit: Pixnio

Improving the Pneumococcus Vaccine

Vaccines that protect people from infection by Streptococcus pneumoniae, which kills up to one million children ever year worldwide, train the immune system to recognize the pathogen’s thick sugar capsule. Pneumococcus capsules are not only the active ingredient in vaccines; they’re also key to the pathogen’s virulence.

But different strains have different capsules, which means vaccine researchers need to identify all capsule types. Pneumococcus experts at the University of Alabama at Birmingham this week describe “A New Pneumococcal Capsule Type, 10D, is the 100th Serotype and Has a Large cps Fragment from an Oral Streptococcus” in mBio, a newly-found capsule—the 100th to be identified since the pathogen was first discovered in the late 19th century.

Read More on Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News