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Rheumatic heart disease vaccines

Dr Yara-Natalie Abo, Institution: Murdoch Children's Research Institute

2021 PhD Scholarship  

Years funded: 2022-2024

Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is a chronic complication of Streptococcus pyogenes (Strep A) infections and a leading global cause of infection-related morbidity and mortality. RHD rates in Indigenous communities in Australia are amongst the highest ever reported. RHD is a World Health Organisation priority and the Australian government has set a target to end RHD by 2030.

RHD is a complex disease with broad social determinants, however interventions that reduce Strep A infections will prevent RHD. Australian-led initiatives have added new impetus to Strep A vaccine development. A key new capacity is an Australian human infection model of Strep A pharyngitis, which Dr Yara-Natalie Abo will use to lead a randomised trial testing the efficacy of a promising Australian vaccine candidate. The trial will establish the model’s value as a bridge to field trials of vaccines to reduce Strep A infections and end RHD.

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