Ontario – Chlamydia, one of the most common STIs, could be near its end since researchers have taken the first steps towards developing a vaccine against it. The STI is also difficult to prevent since most people who are infected have no symptoms, which can lead to further spread of the condition.
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. This STI is treatable, so far with antibiotics, which includes azithromycin (yes, the same antibiotic gonorrhea is getting invulnerable to erythromycin, doxycycline, or ofloxacin). However, the bacterium is mutating and is showing multidrug resistance, which has lead to clinical treatment failure.
Still, chlamydia is a severe infection. It can lead to infertility or ectopic pregnancies, and repeated untreated infections of the eyes can result in Trachoma, the leading cause of preventable blindness affecting millions of people in the developing world.
Chlamydia is a serious matter for people suffering from its consequences
This is why Chlamydia is one of the most common STI, affecting more than 113 million people around the world. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 2.86 million people get infected each year.
Researchers at the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research at McMaster University conducted a recent study, published in the journal Vaccine, which can lead Chlamydia to be 100% preventive. The team has produced the first widely protective vaccine against the infection.
Dr. David Bulir, co-author of the research stated that “vaccination would be the best way to prevent a Chlamydia infection, and this study has identified important new antigens which could be used as part of a vaccine to prevent or eliminate the damaging reproductive consequences of untreated infections”
The researchers utilized a chlamydial antigen called BD584 to create the vaccine and experimented on mice. The antigen prevents “chlamydial shedding” (a symptom of the infection) on the 95% of cases, and also prevents “hydrosalpinx” (blockage of the fallopian tubes) on the 87.5% of the time.
— Edgbaston Medical (@DrEPMP) July 20, 2016
Painless vaccines are the best kind of vaccines
The best part is that the vaccine can be administered through the nose, which according to said Steven Liang, co-author and Ph.D. student at McMaster would be perfect for developing nations since “does not require trained health professionals to administer, and that makes it an inexpensive solution.” The vaccine would also be painless.
The researchers are now planning to test BD584 different formulations of the vaccine, against different strains of Chlamydia. The objective would be creating a vaccine that can be used in all medical environments for all the different strains of the infection.
These results are very promising since vaccination is one of the best ways to prevent disease. However, the scientific community has been looking for a vaccine in the past few decades.
“Vaccine development efforts in the past three decades have been unproductive and there is no vaccine approved for use in humans”. Bulir said. Now, after the experiment has been so successful with mice, we may be getting nearer to a human vaccine.
In the meantime, sexually active people should be getting tested frequently, as well as using the only defensive barrier, the condom, and those infected should keep with the available treatment.
— CDC STD (@CDCSTD) July 17, 2016