A controlled human infection model of Streptococcus pyogenes pharyngitis (CHIVAS-M75): an observational, dose-finding study

Joshua Osowicki, Kristy I. Azzopardi, Loraine Fabri, Hannah R. Frost, Tania Rivera-Hernandez, Melanie R. Neeland, Alana L. Whitcombe, Anneke Grobler, Sarah J. Gutman, Ciara Baker, Janet M.F. Wong, Jason D. Lickliter, Claire S. Waddington, Manisha Pandey, Tibor Schuster, Allen C. Cheng, Andrew J. Pollard, James S. McCarthy, Michael F. Good, James B. DaleMichael Batzloff, Nicole J. Moreland, Mark J. Walker, Jonathan R. Carapetis, Pierre R. Smeesters, Andrew C. Steer

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Streptococcus pyogenes is a leading cause of infection-related morbidity and mortality. A reinvigorated vaccine development effort calls for new clinically relevant human S pyogenes experimental infection models to support proof of concept evaluation of candidate vaccines. We describe the initial Controlled Human Infection for Vaccination Against S pyogenes (CHIVAS-M75) study, in which we aimed to identify a dose of emm75 S pyogenes that causes acute pharyngitis in at least 60% of volunteers when applied to the pharynx by swab. Methods: This observational, dose-finding study was done in a clinical trials facility in Melbourne (VIC, Australia). Groups of healthy volunteers aged 18–40 years, at low risk of complicated S pyogenes disease, and without high type-specific anti-emm75 IgG antibodies against the challenge strain were challenged and closely monitored as inpatients for up to 6 days, and then as outpatients for 6 months. Antibiotics were started upon diagnosis (clinical signs and symptoms of pharyngitis and a positive rapid molecular test) or after 5 days in those without pharyngitis. Rapid test results were confirmed by standard bacterial culture. After a sentinel participant, cohorts of five and then ten participants were challenged, with protocol-directed dose-escalation or de-escalation for subsequent cohorts. The primary outcome was the proportion of participants at each dose level with pharyngitis by day 5 after challenge. The study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03361163. Findings: Between July 10, 2018, and Sept 23, 2019, 25 healthy adults were challenged with emm75 S pyogenes and included in analyses. Pharyngitis was diagnosed in 17 (85%; 95% CI 62–97) of 20 participants at the starting dose level (1–3 × 105 colony-forming units [CFU]/mL). This high proportion prompted dose de-escalation. At the lower dose level (1–3 × 104 CFU/mL), pharyngitis was diagnosed in one of five participants. Immunological, biochemical, and microbiological results supported the clinical picture, with acute symptomatic pharyngitis characterised by pharyngeal colonisation by S pyogenes accompanied by significantly elevated C-reactive protein and inflammatory cytokines (eg, interferon-γ and interleukin-6), and modest serological responses to streptolysin O and deoxyribonuclease B. There were no severe (grade 3) or serious adverse events related to challenge. Interpretation: We have established a reliable pharyngitis human infection model with reassuring early safety findings to accelerate development of vaccines and other interventions to control disease due to S pyogenes. Funding: Australian National Health and Medical Research Council.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e291-e299
JournalThe Lancet Microbe
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


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