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November 18, 1988

Group A Streptococcus Vaccine May Be Ready for Phase I Clinical Trials in Late 1989

JAMA. 1988;260(19):2778. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410190022003

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AMERICAN microbiologists, using a novel approach, have moved closer to a vaccine that could prevent as many as 40% of deaths from cardiovascular disease in countries in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East.

"The resurgence of rheumatic fever in this country puts new emphasis and urgency" on this work here as well, says rheumatologist Alan L. Bisno, MD, chief of medical services at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Miami. Human phase I trials may be only a year away.

The vaccine being developed would provide immunity against infection with group A streptococcus, which causes acute rheumatic fever that ultimately can lead to congestive heart failure. As recently as five years ago, acute rheumatic fever was tagged the vanishing disease in this country, with a national incidence of less than one case per 100 000.

However, since 1984, several cities have reported outbreaks of the disease, with attack rates