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.

Our researchers are working to develop novel vaccines based on GAS pilus proteins which have been shown to produce protective immune responses against GAS strains in animal models. In addition, we are developing novel diagnostic tests designed to detect the extent to which patients with acute RF have been exposed to GAS, and investigating 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 is also ongoing, 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.