The First Chlamydia Vaccine Can Pave the Way for More Effective STI Preventive Methods

A vaccine developed to prevent chlamydia infections has successfully completed its first testing phase. 

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For the last year, the production of the chlamydia vaccine was a top priority. But the intricate pathogen has made progress and development incredibly difficult and challenging. Based on the recent report, the primary trial phase has shown favorable results.  

Researchers stated the chlamydia vaccine prompts an immunity to microorganisms and pathogens and boosts the antibody levels in the vaginal discharge and blood. During the preliminary clinical testing phase, the vaccine was safe to use. 

If these current results get supported with more trials, this vaccine could pave the way for more effective STI preventive methods in the near future.

Why Is a Chlamydia Vaccine Necessary?

Chlamydia is an extremely prevalent sexually transmitted infection. Statistics show a million individuals or more get infected every year globally. The highest chlamydia rates registered are in the sub-Saharan African region, with 10 million new infections recorded a year. 

The most infected are young adults and adolescents who often don’t know they carry the disease. Due to its asymptomatic nature, many people, particularly the younger generation, underestimate the importance of preventing such a disease. 

Repeated and untreated bacterial infections can have a serious impact on someone’s health. In the long-term, it could ascend into a consequential infection that can cause inflammatory problems, chronic pain in the pelvis, and even result in ectopic pregnancy or infertility. 

How Can A Vaccine Help?

Currently, this bacterial infection can only be treated with specific antibiotics. But, because of its asymptomatic nature, very few of those infected are aware they carry the infection. As a result, they transmit the bacteria unknowingly from one sexual partner to the next. 

Even though patients can treat this infection with antibiotics, very few get on-time treatment. 

A proper vaccine has the potential to stop the epidemic. This medicine can help the body build up antibodies in the system and prevent the bacteria from entering and manifesting inside the body. 

With a vaccine such as this one, people can enjoy a life free of such a powerful and easily contracted infection. Plus, they won’t have to worry about transferring the infection onto someone else. However, for the vaccine to become available, it first has to pass all the clinical trials before it hits the market.

How Does the Vaccine Work?

After a series of tests, trials, and multiple programs, the first testing phase was solely focused on how this vaccine can affect the system. The moment the vaccine enters the system, it immediately targets the bacteria manifesting inside the genital tract. 

When it comes in direct contact with the pathogen, the formula releases humoral and cell-mediated immunity – this is referred to as the “primary line of defense.” It neutralizes the antibodies and reduces the infectious load. When the pathogen becomes intercellular, the cell-mediated immune response will immediately target it. 

The goal of the first trial was to analyze the potency and safety of the vaccine to cause immunity to microorganisms and pathogens. To conclude these results, 35 female participants who did not carry chlamydia took part in the trial. The results showed that the vaccine was safe, and it improved their immunity to this particular bacterial infection. 

To analyze the potency of the chlamydia vaccine, researchers collected blood samples from each participant and checked the specific antibodies the vaccine created the moment it targeted the bacterial infection. 

With further analyses, it was concluded that the antibodies were also present in the secretion of mucus, which can be useful for blocking chlamydia in its early stages right after it has entered the system. 

What About Adverse Effects?

So far, the vaccine has shown no serious side effects. Its purpose is to shield the body against this bacterial infection without having to use a nasal spray. 

This vaccine, however, is still in its early stages, so more research is necessary to know the full extent of the positive effects or adverse effects it could provoke. To achieve these results, bigger studies with multiple participants are necessary. With the latest research and first testing phase, the results are promising.

What’s In Store For the Future?

For the product to become available for sale, it first has to undergo years of clinical development and research. Researchers will continue with multiple testing phases together with scientists at the Imperial College in London in the following years. 

If all the trials prove effective, the vaccine will be eligible to start the efficacy trial. This trial-testing phase is known as a placebo-controlled trial. Exactly 50% of the volunteers will receive a placebo vaccine, while the rest will obtain an active vaccine. This trial should be performed on small-scale groups, particularly in individuals at risk of developing the disease. 

Depending on the results of the development phase, the chlamydia vaccine may engage the SSI to form a partnership, as well as a commercial partner who would be responsible for the distribution and manufacturing of the product.

Long-Term Objective

If the vaccine successfully passes all the testing phases and gets licensed for marketing and distribution, it could be administered alongside an HPV vaccine to young children, preferably 11 or 12-year-olds. The reason this age was chosen was that children receive the HPV vaccine around the same time. 

Depending on the successes of the vaccine, it could pave the way for potential collaborations and new industrial partners. These partners would be responsible for mass distributing and producing the vaccine for worldwide clinical use. The goal would be to spread the medicine internationally, particularly in the African region. 

Even though the chlamydia vaccine shows encouraging and positive results, more research is necessary to confirm its effectiveness. Trials are still undergoing, and it would take years before the product reaches the market for global use. 

References

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(19)30279-8/fulltext

https://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12879-018-3477-y

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/aug/12/chlamydia-vaccine-clinical-trial-cure-sexually-transmitted-infection

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