Meningitis Vax Works -- for Gonorrhea

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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.

As Petousis-Harris mentions, scientists are not entirely sure why a vaccine intended for meningitis also works against a sexually transmitted infection. "It does not need to be flawless", she added.

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.

As part of their commitment to combatting AMR, the G20 leaders also announced a new global body to oversee research and development of new drugs to address emerging antimicrobial resistance.

In New Zealand, around 1 million people under age 20 received a meningitis vaccine known as MeNZB during a 2004-2006 immunization program.

"A lot of these vaccines have been used widely globally", Petousis-Harris said.

If the vaccine had an effect against gonorrhea because it is an organism related to meningococcal disease, the researchers hypothesized, then no effect should be seen against chlamydia, an unrelated organism.

"These results provide a proof of principle that can inform prospective vaccine development not only for gonorrhoea but also for meningococcal vaccines".

The researchers found that people who had been vaccinated with the MeNZB vaccine were less likely to have gonorrhea than those who weren't (41 percent versus 51 percent).

After adjusting for gender, ethnicity, geographical area and ethnicity, the incidence of gonorrhoea was reduced by about 30% among vaccinated individuals. It may be possible to eliminate many gonorrhoea infections using a vaccine with only moderate protection.

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Gonorrhea is still treatable in the U.S., said Bowen, though resistance to the current antibiotics may develop. WHO is now strengthening laboratory and epidemiological surveillance systems in the countries of the African meningitis belt to detect and characterize the serogroups responsible for epidemics to guide its response effectively; assure supplies of effective drugs and ability of health care systems to deliver these to the affected populations; protect the population at risk through mass immunization, if the vaccine is available.

"At the moment, there seems nowhere else to go with untreatable gonorrhea", she said.

They did a retrospective study of over 14,000 individuals who had received MeNZB when younger.

But so far, experimental vaccines have all failed.

But a team of researchers in New Zealand has some hopeful news.

Cases were defined as those with gonorrhea alone, while controls were those diagnosed with chlamydia alone.

"This paper is intriguing as a concept, but not as a reason to use this vaccine to protect people from gonorrhea", he said.

Infected patients may experience discharge or pain while urinating, but around 10% of men and nearly half of women do not suffer any symptoms.

No new vaccine has actually been developed.

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