Antibiotic consumption for sore throat and the potential effect of a vaccine against group A Streptococcus: a systematic review and modelling study

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Abstract

Background: Antibiotic consumption can lead to antimicrobial resistance and microbiome imbalance. We sought to estimate global antibiotic consumption for sore throat, and the potential reduction in consumption due to effective vaccination against group A Streptococcus (Strep A). Methods: We reviewed and analysed articles published between January 2000 and February 2022, identified though Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science search platform, with reference to antibiotic prescribing or consumption, sore throat, pharyngitis, or tonsillitis. We then used those analyses, combined with assumptions for the effectiveness, duration of protection, and coverage of a vaccine, to calculate the estimated reduction in antibiotic prescribing due to the introduction of Strep A vaccines. Findings: We identified 101 studies covering 38 countries. The mean prescribing rate for sore throat was approximately 5 courses per 100 population per year, accounting for approximately 5% of all antibiotic consumption. Based on 2020 population estimates for countries with empiric prescribing rates, antibiotic consumption for sore throat was estimated to exceed 37 million courses annually, of which half could be attributable to treatment for Strep A. A vaccine that reduces rates of Strep A infection by 80%, with 80% coverage and 10 year's duration of protection, could avert 2.8 million courses of antibiotics prescribed for sore throat treatment among 5-14 year-olds in countries with observed prescribing rates, increasing to an estimated 7.5 million averted if an effective vaccination program also reduced precautionary prescribing. Interpretation: A vaccine that prevents Strep A throat infections in children may reduce antibiotic prescribing for sore throat by 32–87% depending on changes to prescribing and consumption behaviours. Funding: The Wellcome Trust, grant agreement number 215490/Z/19/Z.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104864
JournalEBioMedicine
Volume98
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

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