News Worms
News Worms

First vaccine shows gonorrhoea protection

First vaccine shows gonorrhoea protection

"This is the first time a vaccine has shown any protection against gonorrhoea", lead author Helen Petousis-Harris from University of Auckland, New Zealand, said in a statement. "It does not need to be flawless", she added.

This is coming after the World Health Organisation in a recent publication said that the infection was fast becoming a challenge as antibiotics seemed to have minimal effect in treating the infection.

This large study found an association between having the MeNZB vaccine and a reduced likelihood of being diagnosed with gonorrhoea.

Beginning in 2004 and lasting through 2006, a mass vaccination campaign inoculated most of the New Zealand population: about 90%, including 81% of those under age 20.

This vaccine may also provide protection against gonorrhoea and could be tested in future trials.

The new study describe the first vaccine candidate to ever show some kind of protection against the infection.

The New Zealand vaccine is no longer available, but the same membrane-attacking component has been incorporated in a new vaccine targeting a broad range of group B Neisseria meningitidis.

"Given the emergence of drug resistance, a vaccine may be our only avenue", Petousis-Harris said.

Overall, the researchers found that 41 percent of those vaccinated became infected with gonorrhea, versus 51 percent of those who did not receive the vaccine.

After adjusting for gender, ethnicity, geographical area and ethnicity, the incidence of gonorrhoea was reduced by about 30% among vaccinated individuals.

It's also not clear how long the immune response might last, Petousis-Harris said.

If left untreated, gonorrhoea can lead to complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility.

The study, published Monday in the Lancet, was funded by GSK and Auckland Uniservices, the commercialization arm of the University of Auckland. Researchers wanted to assess the vaccine's effectiveness against gonorrhea on the basis of ecological data suggesting that gonorrhea declined after the use of outer-membrane vesicle (OMV) meningococcal B vaccines in Cuba, New Zealand, and Norway. Unfortunately, there has been little to guide the development of an effective vaccine.

Further analysis was done to include the 1,002 people who had both infections.

Study co-author Professor Steven Black, from Cincinnati Children's Hospital in the U.S., added: "The potential ability of an OMV group B meningococcal vaccine to provide even moderate protection against gonorrhoea would have substantial public health benefits in view of the prevalence of gonorrhoea, and the increase in antibiotic resistance".

With diseases such as chickenpox or measles or mumps and others, once you have had the infection, you are naturally immune to getting it again, which is why vaccines are successful in preventing disease, he explained. Called Bexsero, the meningococcal vaccine is developed by GlaxoSmithKline and is created to fight more strains than before.

The study population included adolescents and adults born between 1984 and 1998, who were diagnosed with gonorrhea, chlamydia, or both, and who had been eligible to get the meningitis B vaccine, and who presented to an STI clinic. A special vaccine that only protected against that strain was made; it was used between 2004 and 2008. That makes developing a vaccine problematic, Handsfield said.

The Guardian's headline talks about "untreatable" gonorrhoea, but the study didn't look at whether any of the people had drug-resistant gonorrhoea or not. "I don't think the conclusions are solid enough to be confident that that would help".


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