- Plans afoot to develop vaccine to protect against dangerous type of gonorrhoea
- World Health Organisation warns disease is evolving to become untreatable
- At least three people worldwide are infected with more expected to follow
Ben Spencer Medical Correspondent For The Daily Mail
A vaccine to protect against gonorrhoea could be on the horizon, experts have announced.
A study of almost 15,000 people given the treatment, which is based on a meningitis vaccine, found they were a third less likely to develop the sexually transmitted disease.
The breakthrough, published last night in the Lancet medical journal, comes days after the World Health Organisation warned gonorrhoea is evolving to become untreatable.
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A vaccine to protect against gonorrhoea could be on the horizon, experts have announced. Pictured above, a stock image of a scientific study into the disease
Medics warn gonorrhoea is constantly evolving to the point where it is no longer untreatable. Pictured above, a 3D illustration of the bacteria which causes the disease
In the past the infection, which affects 78million a year globally, was easily treatable with antibiotics.
But at least three people worldwide have already been infected with totally untreatable strains of gonorrhoea – and more are likely to follow, officials believe.
Now scientists have shown that exposure to the meningococcal group B jab during a mass vaccination campaign in New Zealand reduced gonorrhoea cases by 31 percent.
Lead author Dr Helen Petousis-Harris, of Auckland University, said: ‘This is the first time a vaccine has shown any protection against gonorrhoea.
‘At the moment, the mechanism behind this immune response is unknown, but our findings could inform future vaccine development.’
If the effect is confirmed in similar meningitis vaccines, administering it to teenagers could result in dramatic declines in the disease.
‘Despite being very different in symptoms and mode of transmission, there is a genetic match of up to 90 per cent between gonorrhoea and meningitis bacteria.’