Maternal intranasal vaccination using novel Pneumolysin conjugated vaccines to protect offspring from pneumococcal infection

William Horsnell

Dr William Horsnell 
Associate Professor 
Division of Immunology & Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town (South Africa)


Prof Tim Mitchell, Institute of Microbiology and Infection, University of Birmingham (UK)
Dr Anna-Karin Maltais, Eurocine Vaccines AB (Sweden)


Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) is a leading cause of bacterial pneumonia and sepsis in children, particularly in LMIC countries. The most effective public intervention to reduce pneumococcal diseases is vaccination. Despite the use of effective polysaccharide-based vaccines, pneumococcal disease still affects significant numbers of children worldwide. Underlying this continuing prevalence are increasing cases of disease caused by serotypes not protected by existing vaccines. 

As pneumococcus initially colonises the nasopharynx, local immunisation here via nasal spray is an appropriate and feasible vaccination strategy to control the nasal carriage which gives rise to subsequent invasive disease. New protein antigen based mucosal vaccines delivered to the nasal mucosa can provide strong protection and can protect against serotypes not currently protected by existing vaccines. 

Effectively vaccinating mothers can provide protection from birth and has been demonstrated to be effective against other streptococcal diseases (e.g. Group B Streptococcus). Moreover, mucosal vaccine delivery in mothers can also provide effective protection to offspring from bacterial infection.  

In this project, we will use preclinical models to demonstrate that mucosal maternal vaccination with novel pneumococcal vaccines can protect offspring from the establishment of pathogenic pneumococcal infections.