We May Be One Step Closer to a Gonorrhea Vaccine

A vaccine for gonorrhea has been developed in New Zealand that cut infections by about a third according to the BBC

A vaccine for gonorrhea has been developed in New Zealand that cut infections by about a third according to the BBC

This would be the first time that any vaccine has offered protection against gonorrhoea, according to their study published yesterday in The Lancet.

In a case control study involving more than 14,000 people we were able to determine that exposure to the MeNZB™ vaccine during the New Zealand mass vaccination campaign reduced the likelihood of contracting gonorrhoea.

On Friday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that cases of gonorrhoea were rising and that some strains were becoming resistant to available drugs.

The U.N. health agency estimates that 78 million people are infected with gonorrhea every year.

Around one million people, or 81 per cent of the New Zealand population under 20 years old, received a vaccine against meningococcal group B (Men B), a bacteria can cause meningitis and blood poisoning if it enters the body.

"Despite efforts, a gonorrhea vaccine with any clinical effect has eluded development for over 100 years", said lead researcher Helen Petousis-Harris, a senior lecturer at the University of Auckland.

"However, we may have meningococcal B vaccines that provide moderate protection and modelling suggests that [they] could make a big difference to the rates of disease until we can develop more effective options", she added.

The reason for this, they speculate, is because the bacteria that causes meningitis is a very close relative of the species that causes gonorrhoea, and the jab was giving cross-protection.

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That ratio, after adjustment for ethnicity, socio-economic deprivation, geographical area, and sex, led to an estimated vaccine effectiveness of MeNZB against gonorrhea of 31% (95% CI 21%-39%).

"Gonorrhoea is a very smart bug", said Teodora Wi, a human reproduction specialist at the Geneva-based United Nations health agency.

A VACCINE to protect against gonorrhoea could be on the horizon, experts have announced.

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. Even moderate protection against gonorrhoea would have substantial public health benefits, especially if it's no longer possible to treat the disease with antibiotics. The data show that individuals who were vaccinated were significantly less likely to have gonorrhea.

The disease spreads easily because many carriers are unaware of their infection and unwittingly pass it on to new sexual partners.

Two-thirds of these countries had strains that were resistant to one of two "last resort" antibiotics, cefixime or ceftriaxone.

For some reason, I have a gut feeling that a gonorrhoea vaccine is something that even antivaxxers would have an interest in.

The 11 participating clinics had 15,067 individuals - 15,090 with chlamydia, 1,759 with gonorrhea, and 1,329 with both - over the study period from 2004 through 2014. The need to rationalize use of available global stocks of vaccine and to adapt epidemic response strategies to epidemiological profiles are challenges for the immediate future. "There was certainly biological plausibility, but we needed some proof" that the vaccine really did curb gonorrhea, Petousis-Harris says. However, for many people, the infection is asymptomatic and so they can pass on the infection as they have no idea they have it.

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