An insight article with Ruth Massey on John Lees' and Stephen Bentley's new paper was published in eLife on Friday:
Streptococcus pneumoniae is a notorious bacterial pathogen
hiding in plain sight. A common resident of the nose and throat, between
68% and 84% of young infants will carry this species at any given time (Turner et al., 2012).
In most cases it causes no harm, yet the presence of pneumococci – as
the bacteria are known – can predispose a person to life-threatening
infections like pneumonia or meningitis. Indeed, pneumococci are
responsible for around 10% of all deaths in young children around the
world (O'Brien et al., 2009), with the vast majority of cases being in developing countries.
Research into S. pneumoniae is complicated because the species
is a patchwork of distinctive strains and some of these strains remain
in the nose and throat for longer than others. Now, in eLife, John Lees
and Stephen Bentley – both at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute – and
colleagues report that strains rendered impotent by a virus do not
linger for as long as other strains (Lees et al., 2017).
Click here to read the full piece.