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BACKGROUND:Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV) have reduced pneumococcal diseases globally. Pneumococcal genomic surveys elucidate PCV effects on population structure but are rarely conducted in low-income settings despite the high disease burden. METHODS:We undertook whole genome sequencing of 660 pneumococcal isolates collected through surveys from healthy carriers two years from PCV14 introduction and one-year post-rollout in northern Malawi. We investigated changes in population structure, within-lineage serotype dynamics, serotype diversity, and frequency of antibiotic resistance (ABR) and accessory genes. RESULTS:In the under-fives, frequency and diversity of vaccine serotypes (VT) decreased significantly post-PCV but no significant changes occurred in over-fives. Clearance of VT serotypes was consistent across different genetic backgrounds (lineages). There was an increase of non-vaccine serotypes (NVT) namely 7C, 15B/C, 23A in under-fives but 28F increased in both age groups. While carriage rates have been recently shown to remain stable post-PCV due replacement serotypes, there was no change in diversity of NVTs. Additionally, frequency of intermediate-penicillin-resistant lineages decreased post-PCV. While frequency of ABR genes remained stable, other accessory genes especially those associated with MGEs and bacteriocins showed changes in frequency post-PCV. CONCLUSIONS:We demonstrate evidence of significant population restructuring post-PCV driven by decreasing frequency of vaccine serotypes and increasing frequency of few NVTs mainly in under-fives. Continued surveillance with WGS remains crucial to fully understand dynamics of the residual VTs and replacement NVT serotypes post-PCV.

Original publication





Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America

Publication Date



Parasites and Microbes Programme, Wellcome Sanger Institute, Wellcome Genome Campus, Cambridge, UK.