Researchers have made progress toward the first ever vaccine for chlamydia, after revealing how a novel antigen reduced symptoms triggered by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis – the most common cause of the disease.
Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the United States, with nearly 3 million infections occurring every year. The infection often presents no symptoms, and many people do not seek testing. As a result, most individuals with chlamydia are unaware they have it, so the infection often goes untreated. But untreated chlamydia can have serious health consequences, particularly for women. It may lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, and it can cause irreversible damage to the reproductive system, resulting in long-term pelvic pain, infertility, or ectopic pregnancy.
Currently, the only ways to reduce the risk of chlamydia are to use a condom during sexual intercourse or to avoid sexual contact completely. Now, researchers in Canada believe they are well on the way to developing the world’s first widely protective vaccine for the disease, as they reported in the journal Vaccine.
The researchers plan to conduct further testing of different vaccine formulations to see how they fare against different strains of chlamydia.