As gonorrhea turns into untreatable, a repurposed vaccine could stop it

A scanning electron micrograph of Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

Enlarge / A scanning electron micrograph of Neisseria gonorrhoeae. (credit score: NIH)

An present vaccine that stops meningococcal illness might also be as much as 40 p.c efficient at stopping gonorrhea infections, which have gotten more and more proof against antibiotics, with some strains utterly incurable. This discovery is in line with a sequence of research and commentaries revealed Tuesday in The Lancet Infectious Illnesses.

Although the estimated effectiveness is modest, photographs of the vaccine—4CMenB aka Bexsero—might nonetheless stop many infections, researchers reported. The vaccine might stop greater than 100,000 gonorrhea infections over 10 years within the UK, saving an estimated $10.four million. Within the meantime, the vaccine’s effectiveness might present important clues for vaccine builders to make a simpler gonorrhea-specific shot.

The necessity for such a vaccine is evident. Not solely is gonorrhea rapidly changing into extra drug-resistant, however it is also on the rise within the US and different international locations. The World Well being Group estimates there have been greater than 82 million gonorrhea circumstances worldwide in 2020. The US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention estimates there have been practically 680,000 circumstances within the US in 2020, up 10 p.c from 2019 and up 45 p.c from 2016.

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