We are delighted to welcome Dr Sonali Kochhar, MD, to Group B Strep Support’s Medical Advisory Panel.
Dr Kochhar has worked for 20 years in a leadership position for Global Phase I-IV Clinical Research Epidemiology and Safety Studies for Vaccines and Drugs including vaccines for pregnant women, infectious diseases and maternal and child programs which are conducted in USA, Europe, Asia, Africa and India in adult and paediatric populations. She led the development of Maternal and Neonatal Case Definitions and co-authored guidelines for collection, analysis and presentation of safety data for vaccines in pregnant women clinical trials and observational studies.
This work will help to support enhanced surveillance and collection of safety data across sites, countries, and programs worldwide. A standardised approach to safety data collection and reporting is likely to improve the acceptability and implementation of immunisation in pregnancy and help reduce illness and death among pregnant women and young infants globally.
Dr Kochhar was on the International Steering Committee of the WHO Consultation on Safety of Immunization in Pregnancy in Mothers and Newborn Children and served as the Session Chair for the WHO Pediatric Deliberative Session on neonatal events in maternal immunisation. She also works on Policy Development and Strategic Planning with international Government Partners, Public Health Authorities, Regulatory and Ethical Committees and Local Communities. This only touches the sides of her huge expertise!
Prof Philip Steer, chair of the GBSS Medical Advisory Panel, said:
“While we are making progress in our efforts to make the offer of screening for GBS available to all pregnant women in the UK, in the long term the future is with vaccines, which hold the promise of reducing early (and possibly even late) onset neonatal GBS disease without the need to give carriers antibiotics during labour. Sonali’s expertise in vaccine development will therefore be invaluable to GBSS in the years to come, making sure that we remain abreast of the latest developments.”
Dr Kochhar said:
“GBS is recognised as the most frequent cause of severe early-onset infection in newborn infants. The work being done by Group B Strep Support to help eradicate group B Strep (GBS) infections, including meningitis, in infants is commendable. I am delighted to join the Medical Advisory Panel and help provide up-to-date, scientific information on GBS, its prevention and treatment, new vaccines under development and their safety and effectiveness etc. to families and health professionals.”