Researchers in Canada have developed a new way to prevent and treat chlamydia, the most common sexually transmitted bacterial infection in the world. Left untreated, chlamydia can infect other parts of the female reproductive system and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). About one in five women with chlamydia develop PID, making chlamydia the most common cause of infertility in women.
The new treatment differs from the traditional anti-biotic treatment. It is a type of gene therapy that is delivered via nanotechnology. The researchers claim it shows a 65% success rate in preventing chlamydia infection on a single dose.
“As antibiotic resistance continues to develop, people may experience chlamydia infections that cannot be treated through conventional means, which is causing increasing public health challenges,” said Emmanuel Ho, a professor at the University of Waterloo’s School of Pharmacy. “If left untreated or if treatment takes an extended period of time it can lead to infertility and other reproductive issues so finding new ways to treat this common infection is important.”
The new treatment prevents the majority of bacteria from entering cells in the genital tract and destroys any bacteria that is able to penetrate a cell wall. “We’re able to stop the creation of the protein that chlamydia will use to enter genital tract skin cells,” said Ho. “As a result, an incoming infection has fewer targets to latch onto and infection is less likely to occur.”