Gonorrhoea will soon be 'impossible to treat'

Gonorrhoea will soon be 'impossible to treat'

Gonorrhoea will soon be 'impossible to treat'

The development of a new antibiotic for gonorrhoea "is not attractive for commercial pharmaceutical companies", World Health Organization said, noting that only three candidate drugs are now in the research-and-development pipeline.

The sexually transmitted disease, gonorrhoea, can infect the genitals, rectum and throat, however, it is the latter that is most concerning to health experts, especially with reports of a new superbug strain in several countries. In men and women, gonorrhea can cause infertility and increase the risk of contracting HIV. By mid-2000s, it developed resistance to ciprofloxacin which led to the usage of the third generation of antibiotics called cephalosporins.

Gonorrhoea can be prevented through safer sexual behaviour, in particular consistent and correct condom use. In the United States alone, more than 800,000 new gonorrhea infections are occurring each year, according to the CDC.

Only three candidate drugs to treat gonorrhoea are said to be undergoing development and trials. It infects roughly 78 million people every year, including those who do not use condoms, and has been on the rise.

"Currently, in most countries, [cefixime and ceftriaxone] are the only single antibiotic that remain effective for treating gonorrhoea", the World Health Organization said.

Ms Wi told Sky News: Currently we're still using this antibiotic and, in a matter of years, this antibiotic will not be useful anymore to treat gonorrhoea.

Gonorrhoea has developed resistance to almost every class of antibiotics used to treat it such as penicillin, tetracycline and fluoroquinolones.

In South Africa‚ doctors have stopped using the older drugs that gonorrhoea is resistant to and use two different antibiotics at the same time that still work.

The sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea is becoming increasingly more hard, or at times even impossible, to treat because strains of the bacteria that cause it have become resistant to antibiotics, according to a new report.

Ultimately, Wi said, a vaccine is needed because gonorrhea will become resistant despite the efforts to stay a step ahead.

Symptoms of gonorrhea can include burning and discolored discharge, but, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most women with gonorrhea don't experience any symptoms, or have symptoms that are so mild that they may be mistaken for a vaginal or bladder infection.

Dr Manica Balasegaram, director of Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership, stressed the need for more research and development.

Moreover, the effectiveness of the drugs wanes as the bacteria develop resistance, which in turn feeds the need to constantly develop new drugs to treat gonorrhea, the researchers said.

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