Gonorrhoea vaccine discovered for first time

Gonorrhoea vaccine discovered for first time

Gonorrhoea vaccine discovered for first time

"Although the Auckland study is seen as breakthrough, there is still no gonorrhoea-specific vaccine in the horizon, " the study's lead author Helen Petousis-Harris said. "It is far from ideal, but it is a leap in the right direction", she said.

So a team of researchers started looking at a vaccine that was originally used in an emergency meningitis B campaign between 2004 and 2006, when approximately one million people in New Zealand were immunised to stem an outbreak. The data show that individuals who were vaccinated were significantly less likely to have gonorrhea.

Meningitis B is caused by Neisseria meningitides, a bacteria similar to the one that causes gonorrhoea, so experts thought the MeNZB vaccine may be able to protect against both.

"We compared the vaccination rates in two groups of people", Petousis-Harris explained.

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

The New Zealand vaccine is no longer licensed, but the membrane-attacking component has been included in the formulation of Bexsero, GlaxoSmithKline's meningococcal vaccine.

That may explain why the B vaccine appears to offer some protection against Neisseria gonorrhea. Mathematical modelling has previously suggested that if all 13-year-olds were given a vaccine that only protected half of them, the prevalence of gonorrhoea in the population would fall by 90 per cent in only 20 years.

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.

The findings should "reinvigorate" gonorrhea vaccine research, commented Kate Seib, PhD, of Griffiths University in Gold Coast, Australia.

So far, efforts to develop a vaccine against gonorrhoea have been unsuccessful despite years of research. Even moderate protection against gonorrhoea would have substantial public health benefits, especially if it's no longer possible to treat the disease with antibiotics.

"However, we may have meningococcal B vaccines that provide moderate protection".

The study looked at more than 14,000 people: some who received the vaccine, and some unvaccinated people who acted as controls.

The researchers collected data from 11 sexual health clinics in New Zealand representing nearly 15,000 people and around 1000 cases of gonorrhoea. "It might be that we've got a vaccine out there that could make a significant difference".

Other modelling has found that gonorrhoea is primarily spread by sex workers and men who have sex with many male partners. A study, published yesterday (July 10) in The Lancet, reveals a potential new strategy to prevent the disease: vaccination.

Dr. H. Hunter Handsfield is a spokesman for the Sexual Health Association and a professor emeritus of medicine at the University of Washington Center for AIDS and STD.

Developing a vaccine for gonorrhea has been elusive, he said. The researchers had no information about people's exposure to gonorrhea, only whether people were treated for the infection at a clinic.

With gonorrhea, however, getting the infection doesn't confer immunity to getting it again.

No new vaccine has actually been developed. The vaccine in question already existed, and it hasn't definitely been proven to reduce the chances of catching gonorrhoea. "I don't think the conclusions are solid enough to be confident that that would help".

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