The pneumococcal capsule, for which there are more than 90 distinct serotypes, serves as the target for current highly effective multivalent vaccines against this global pathogen. Domestically, the CDC Streptococcus Laboratory provides the majority of the pneumococcal serotyping and much of the antimicrobial susceptibility testing for the national population-based Active Bacterial Core surveillance.
The Streptococcus Laboratory is also very engaged globally in supporting pneumococcal conjugate vaccine introduction and evaluation by providing lab training and improved strain surveillance methods. CDC’s lab is one of the few specialized reference laboratories that generate capsular typing antisera for resolution of 92 pneumococcal serotypes. In addition to maintenance of this gold standard, the Streptococcus Laboratory has devised relatively simple molecular methodologies for deducing pneumococcal serotypes, which allows all labs with conventional or real-time PCR capabilities to perform meaningful serotype surveillance.