Caused by an infection with the bacterium known as Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Gonorrhea is a common and dangerous sexually transmitted disease (STD). Gonorrhea passes from a person to a person most commonly through having unprotected sexual intercourse of any kind with an infected individual. With proper condom usage and antibiotic usage, it is highly likely that gonorrhea will be prevented.
Despite that, we are looking at more and more people being affected by gonorrhea on a global level. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), annually, there are around 376 million new cases with one of the following four STDs – gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis.
Lately, not only have we been facing a continuous increase in new gonorrhea cases, but we have been also facing a new challenge when it comes to properly treating gonorrhea. It seems that drug-resistant gonorrhea has become a growing trend on a global level.
The challenges related to drug-resistant gonorrhea
Gonorrhea, since caused by a bacterial infection, has, up until recently, been treated with the use of antibiotics. There have been two usual choices – an injection of Ceftriaxone or an Azithromycin tablet for oral use. Most patients have reported feeling a symptom relief in several days.
However, today, we are faced with a rapidly increasing problem presented to us like a drug, or should we say multidrug-resistant gonorrhea infection. The bacteria that cause gonorrhea has efficiently developed a resistance to many of our obvious antibiotic choices. Now, in the case of multidrug-resistant gonorrhea, there is a need for a lengthy treatment process in which one or a combination of a few different antibiotics is being used, trying to fight gonorrhea.
An American company working on developing a new oral antibiotic to fight the multidrug-resistant gonorrhea
The US-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, and its research team, has been awarded $2.86 million. The money will be used for the research team, that will be joined by researchers from Penn State, Emory University, and the Uniformed Services University, to develop a new oral antibiotic that is meant to fight multidrug-resistant gonorrhea that affects more and more people each day, on a global level, that is.
The funds have been awarded by the Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X). This is a non-profit partnership that has been focused on addressing the global threat of drug-resistant bacteria that we are faced with today. CARB-X has also promised an additional $16 million in funding if the research team manages to meet certain development milestones during their research.
This project is certainly promising and would be a completely new approach in treating gonorrhea infection, especially that that has been caused by multidrug-resistant gonorrhea strains. If effective, we are looking at millions of people getting properly treated all around the world. With that, the rates of gonorrhea are expected to drop on a global level as well.
You see, untreated gonorrhea infection helps with the rise of the gonorrhea rates. But that is not the only risk. There is the risk of multiple complications for the infected with each day passed and their infection not being properly treated.
But the gonorrhea rates are not the only ones that are expected to decline in case this project is successful. Hopefully, we will also be seeing a decline in the rates of HIV/AIDS as well, since gonorrhea increases the risk of contracting HIV and developing AIDS afterward. With that, we are looking into combating two highly dangerous and very common STDs.
It was early 2018 when the first case of drug-resistant gonorrhea has been reported. It was a gonorrhea case in England – one that was unsuccessfully treated with the use of Ceftriaxone and Azithromycin. It was then that doctors and researchers figured out that it was a new, dangerous, and most importantly multidrug-resistant gonorrhea strain that they have had to fight against. Today, researchers have gathered up, hoping to find a solution in the form of an oral antibiotic that is meant to fight this very same multidrug-resistant gonorrhea strain.