Health

SA start-up tackles deadly global bacteria

A South Australian start-up has received a grant from the state government to find a vaccine for a deadly bacteria.

An Adelaide start-up has received a $300,000 state government grant to develop a vaccine for a bacteria responsible for up to two million global deaths a year.

The grant will allow GPN Vaccines to work on combating Streptococcus Pneumoniae, a form of pathogenic bacteria, which causes bacterial meningitis, pneumonia and middle ear infections, Innovation Minister Kyam Maher says.

"A new universal pneumococcal vaccine has the potential to be used in global markets and have substantial health benefits in the prevention of fatal and debilitating diseases," Mr Maher said on Thursday.

The company's CEO Dr Tim Hirst says current vaccines are expensive and only protect against some strains of the bacteria.

"This vaccine uses a specially engineered and inactivated bacterium that protects against all types of pneumococcal infections, regardless of strain serotype," Dr Hirst said.

According to GPN Vaccines, the bacteria kills more children each year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

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