Hope for gonorrhea patients as possible new vaccine found
Could this be the answer to treating gonorrhea?
The vaccine is reportedly the first drug to offer protection against gonorrhea.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), gonorrhea affects about 80 million people every year with majority of the people unaware that they are infected with the disease.
The study, published in The Lancet, was conducted on people that would have been eligible for meningococcal B vaccine that was administered to over a million people in New Zealand between 2004 and 2006.
Meningococcal bacteria can cause meningitis, inflammation of the brain and spinal cord as well a blood infection called septicaemia and is spread through coughing or kissing.
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The meningitis and gonorrhea bacteria are very close in genetic match despite their symptoms and transmission being different.
The findings of the research found that people that got the meningitis vaccine in New Zealand “were significantly less likely to have gonorrhea” than those that did not receive the vaccine.
"This is the first time a vaccine has shown any protection against gonorrhoea," said study co-author Helen Petousis-Harris of the University of Auckland in New Zealand.
The gonorrhea cases reduced by 31 percent – a level that would decrease the prevalence of the disease by about a third within 15 years.
Despite the vaccine no longer being available, some of the same molecules were used to create a new meningococcal vaccine.
Further study is however still being conducted to determine how the meningitis vaccine blocks gonorrhea.
Gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammation in women and infertility in both genders.
In extreme cases, it can spread in the blood to cause life-threatening infections in other parts of the body.
If a pregnant woman gets infected, it can cause blindness in the baby.
There are only two ways to avoid contracting gonorrhea at the moment which is either by using a condom when having sex or abstaining from sex.
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