Group A Strep S Protein Utilizes Red Blood Cells as Immune Camouflage and Is a Critical Determinant for Immune Invasion
How Group A strep can evade the immune system surveillance
Each year 500,000 people die worldwide from Group A strep. Much of how group A strep manages to outsmart the body’s defenses remains mysterious. A newly recognized protein, S-protein, was discovered that allows the bacteria to “mimic” red blood cells and avoid surveillance by the immune system – it acts like the very cells they will eventually destroy. This helps explain the “molecular mimicry” evasion tactic that is responsible for virulent and rare attacks by Group A strep such as rheumatic fever, necrotizing fasciitis, toxic shock syndrome
This will lead to treatments and antibiotics that can more successfully destroy Group A strep when it is resistant to treatment. A lot more work needs to be done before this research is available to patients but it explains the complexity of strep and the need to remain vigilant worldwide.