Research // Infectious Disease //

Group A streptococcus

Group A Streptococcus (GAS) infection is widespread in New Zealand and rates of associated acute rheumatic fever (RF) continue to be unacceptably high in Māori and Pacific children.

The Maurice Wilkins Centre is supporting a range of projects to better understand, diagnose and treat GAS infection and RF, including:

  • The development of novel vaccines based on GAS pilus proteins which have been shown to produce protective immune responses against GAS strains in animal models.
  • The development of novel diagnostic tests designed to detect the extent to which patients with acute RF have been exposed to GAS.
  • Investigations into the pathogenesis of acute RF, in order to identify new opportunities for intervention or treatment.
  • Further study of the link between skin infections and RF, building on compelling epidemiological evidence recently reported by our researchers.

Maurice Wilkins Centre scientists are also part of a joint New Zealand and Australia consortium called CANVAS that is leading global efforts to develop critical tools for testing GAS vaccines.