Today I’d like to tell you a story. The year was 1973. The place was the Channing Laboratory, Boston City Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. The event was the annual Proceeding of the Society of the Channing Laboratory meeting.
Dennis Kasper, a postdoctoral infectious disease fellow with Dr. Edward H. Kass, was listening to a presentation by Carol J. Baker, who was an infectious disease fellow with Dr. Maxwell Finland. The title of Carol’s talk was: “Group B Streptococcal Infection in Infants: The Importance of Various Serotypes.” Carol presented data that showed an increase in the number of neonatal cases of infection due to an encapsulated bacterial pathogen called Streptococcus agalactiae or GBS.
Later, Dennis and Carol chatted. They discussed the idea of combining her knowledge of the epidemiology of GBS and other encapsulated pathogens that caused meningitis in infants with his interests in bacterial polysaccharides. Their shared goal was to develop a vaccine to prevent GBS disease.
Today, I have the honor of presenting the results of Drs. Baker and Kasper’s 20 years of dedicated and focused research toward the development of a vaccine against GBS disease and the results of a phase 1 clinical trial of this vaccine performed at Baylor College of Medicine.
I am optimistic that by the Silver Anniversary of that famous meeting between Drs. Kasper and Baker, we will be on the threshold of providing to clinics worldwide, a licensed conjugate vaccine against GBS disease.
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