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If all goes well, there may be a vaccine for streptococcus in the near future, thanks to a local doctor.

Dr. James B. Dale developed StreptAnova at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center. The vaccine was designed to prevent Group A streptococcal infections, which include strep throat, flesh-eating disease, pneumonia and other types of infections.

StreptAnova will soon undergo a Phase 1 clinical trial in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to test its effectiveness and whether it is safe for humans.

“This is an exciting milestone in the development of StreptAnova,” Dale said. “With positive results, clinical development will move to examine the safety and immune response in adolescents and preschool children, the ultimate target age for the vaccine.”

A vaccine would be especially useful for children, as they are more susceptible than adults to Group A streptococcal diseases.

There are 616 million cases of streptococcal pharyngitis, or strep throat, worldwide each year. Other diseases caused by Group A streptococcus are not as common but still reach into the hundreds of thousands. Invasive Group A streptococcal disease kills about 1,850 people in the United States each year.