Geneva: World Health Organization (WHO) recently stated that there is a great need for a vaccine to stop dangerous Group B streptococcus disease.
WHO and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) revealed the serious global impact of Group B streptococcus (GBS) on babies.
GBS is a common bacterium that gets transmitted in the womb during birth. It also shows impact in the early weeks of life. This disease transmission leads to around 150,000 deaths of babies every year.
The report called urgently for the development of maternal vaccines against GBS to reduce the death toll. WHO has emphasized that vaccines could be very cost-effective with essential health advantages in every world region.
Dr Phillipp Lambach, Medical Officer from WHO's Immunization stated, "This new study reveals that Group B strep is a principal and underappreciated menace to newborn survival and wellbeing. Furthermore, group B brings devastating consequences for so several families globally. Therefore, WHO seeks allies in asking for urgent development of a maternal GBS vaccine. The vaccine which would have profound benefits in nations globally."
For the first time, this new study quantifies the vital contribution of GBS to preterm births. I also includes neurological impairments that can happen due to GBS-related infections. Various GBS vaccines are in development, but none are available yet.
Among all pregnant women globally, nearly 20 million yearly carry the GBS bacterium in their vagina, usually without traits. It can then develop from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby in the womb or newborns during labour.
Presently antibiotic prophylaxis is provided to a woman during labour. This antibiotic is the primary means of checking GBS disease in newborn infants if the bacterium is detected during pregnancy.
But, there remain vital health risks since this intervention is unlikely to stop most GBS associated stillbirths. Also, preterm births, or GBS disease that occurs later after birth.