Develop a safe and long-lasting antibiotic
Group A Streptococcus bacteria (GAS) can cause acute rheumatic fever, and eventually lead to rheumatic heart disease. The best available protection against the bacteria is to have intramuscular injections of an antibiotic – Benzathine Penicillin G.
Intramuscular injections can be very painful, so it’s difficult to convince children to have a new dose every month for at least ten years, and many children don’t have enough doses to protect them. Therefore, prevention programmes based on providing antibiotics have not successfully reduced the rates of disease over time.
Dr Sika-Paotonu will generate a range of chemical forms of penicillin and test them to find one which is effective against GAS, but also stimulates longer-lasting protection in a smaller dose which is less painful.
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