Author(s): AlonsoDeVelasco E, Verheul AF, Verhoef J, Snippe H
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Abstract Although pneumococcal conjugate vaccines are close to being licensed, a more profound knowledge of the virulence factors responsible for the morbidity and mortality caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae is necessary. This review deals with the major structures of pneumococci involved in the pathogenesis of pneumococcal disease and their interference with the defense mechanisms of the host. It is well known that protection against S. pneumoniae is the result of phagocytosis of invading pathogens. For this process, complement and anticapsular polysaccharide antibodies are required. Besides, relatively recent experimental data suggest that protection is also mediated by the removal of disintegrating pneumococci and their degradation products (cell wall, pneumolysin). These structures seem to be major contributors to illness and death caused by pneumococci. An effective conjugate vaccine should therefore preferably include the capsular polysaccharide and at least one of these inflammatory factors.
This article was published in Microbiol Rev
and referenced in Internal Medicine: Open Access