Evolution of streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 3 in England and Wales: A major vaccine evader

Natalie Groves, Carmen L. Sheppard, David Litt, Samuel Rose, Ana Silva, Nina Njoku, Sofia Rodrigues, Zahin Amin-Chowdhury, Nicholas Andrews, Shamez Ladhani, Norman K. Fry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Despite its inclusion in pneumococcal conjugate vaccine 13 (PCV13), Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 3 remains a major cause of invasive pneumococcal disease in England and Wales. Previous studies have indicated that there are distinct lineages within serotype 3 clonal complex 180 and the clade distributions have shifted in recent years with the emergence of clade II. We undertook whole genome sequencing and genomic analysis of 616 serotype 3 isolates from England and Wales between 2003 and 2018, including invasive and carriage isolates. Our investigations showed that clade II has expanded since 2014 and now represents 50% of serotype 3 invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) isolates in England and Wales. Genomic analysis of antibiotic resistance and protein antigen genes showed that distinct profiles are present within the clades which could account for the recent emergence of this clade. This investigation highlights the importance and utility of routine whole genome sequencing and its ability to identify new and emerging variation at the single nucleotide level which informs surveillance and will impact future vaccine development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number845
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Serotype 3
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Whole genome sequencing


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