A vaccine for Group B Streptococcus, a potentially deadly virus that can cause brain damage in up to half of those affected, is undergoing a Phase 1 clinical trial by Pfizer Inc.
Implicated in meningitis, sepsis and pneumonia, key outcomes for newborns with the virus, Group B Streptococcus is often undetected and is carried by up to 25 percent of all expectant mothers, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Kathrin Jansen, Pfizer’s senior vice president and head of vaccine research and development, said in a press release that the testing is an important first step for protecting mothers.
“Pfizer is proud to take this important first step to support our efforts to ultimately develop a GBS vaccine with the potential to immunize a mother to help protect her infant against a devastating disease,” Jansen said.
The current study will take place in the United States and involve subjects between the ages of 18 and 49 who have never carried the Group B Streptococcus virus.
Last year, the company received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a vaccine for the virus in South Africa. According to the release, the vaccine could prevent the disease from being transmitted from mother to child during birth.