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Development and testing of a Streptococcus suis candidate vaccine
Investigator(s): Prof Brendan Wren (LSHTM) and Prof Dirk Werling (RVC)
Amount Awarded: £333,604

Pigs are considered one of the most important sources of protein worldwide. In the UK alone, it is estimated that there are over 10,000 pig farms. Streptococcus suis is a ubiquitous bacterium that causes significant disease and mortality in pigs, but is also capable of infecting humans who are exposed to contaminated pigs or pig meat. In Vietnam, this bacterium is the most common cause of adult meningitis. Recently, evidence was published that a vaccine consisting of capsule from S. suis attached to a carrier protein, is capable of protecting pigs from infection. However, the current method of manufacture, known as chemical conjugation, is too expensive to be developed for the mass market. We will create vaccine candidates using a cheap method of manufacture that uses a bacterial cell itself as the factory. In addition, we will gain significant knowledge about the immune response to these vaccines by combining the vaccine assembly expertise at the LSHTM with the molecular immunology expertise at the RVC. By combining expertise between these 2 teams we aim to make a significant contribution to the reduction of disease burden caused by S. suis, as well as developing screening systems allowing for the reduction of animals used to test vaccine candidates.

Research team:

Prof Brendan Wren, Professor of Microbial Pathogenesis (LSHTM)
Prof Dirk Werling, Professor of Molecular Immunology (RVC)
Dr Jon Cuccui, Assistant Professor (LSHTM)
Dr Henny Martineau, Head of Veterinary Forensic Pathology & Lecturer in Anatomic Pathology