Research raises hopes for gonorrhea vaccine

In addition, the current polysaccharide vaccine has some drawbacks for vaccination campaigns in sub-Saharan Africa: it does not provide long-lasting protection, hence the need for repeated vaccination of at least 80% of the population each time an epidemic occurs; logistic demands and costs are very high; the vaccine has no effect on colonization or transmission of the organism within populations, so travelers returning from an epidemic zone can transmit the infection to close contacts.

The medical breakthrough comes at a time of increased concern over the prevalence of gonorrhoea, which has previously proven to be resistant to medicine. "It does not need to be ideal", she added.

Protective against gonorrhoea as well as meningitis B? Even moderate protection against gonorrhoea would have substantial public health benefits, especially if it's no longer possible to treat the disease with antibiotics.

She and colleagues looked at data from the New Zealand national vaccine registry to see who received a meningococcal vaccine that was available from 2004 to 2008, called MeNZB.

Petousis-Harris' group cautioned that the study population might differ from the general population in several respects.

Although gonorrhoea is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the United Kingdom, people who have it may be unaware because it does not always display any obvious symptoms for many months. "This finding can inform further research on gonorrhea vaccine development; it provides a pointer in what may be the right direction".

Interestingly, after analysing data obtained from sexual health clinics, researchers at the University of Auckland established that cases of gonorrhoea had fallen 31 per cent in those who had been vaccinated, thereby proving that the Men B jab provided "cross protection". "One of the observations was that gonorrhea rates appeared to decline immediately following the use of both the MeNZB vaccine and similar vaccines in Cuba, and to a lesser extent in Norway".

A vaccine for meningitis B may stop the spread of antibiotic-resistant super-gonorrhoea. "Gonorrhea rates have been going down in the vaccine group whereas in the non-vaccine group it's following the rest of the province".

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.

Some of the same molecules were used, however, to manufacture another meningococcal vaccine that is still in use.

Almost 15,000 people were included in the analysis.

Gonorrhoea, on the other hand, is bad.

New Zealand had a very bad meningococcal outbreak in the early 2000s caused by the B strain.

When people with coinfection were included in the gonorrhoea group, the effectiveness of the vaccine reduced to 23% (95% CI 15 to 30).

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.

Infected patients may experience discharge or pain while urinating, but around 10% of men and nearly half of women do not suffer any symptoms. "I wouldn't advise widespread use for the objective of gonorrhea prevention". That makes developing a vaccine problematic, Handsfield said.

  • Aubrey Nash