The threat of untreatable gonorrhoea could be tackled using an existing meningitis vaccine

The threat of untreatable gonorrhoea could be tackled using an existing meningitis vaccine

According to findings from a study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, meningitis vaccines could help improve protection against gonorrhoea amid rising cases globally and increase bacterial resistance to drugs used to treat the infection.

Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that, if untreated, can lead to serious health conditions, including infertility in women, transmission to new-born babies, and increased risk of HIV. More than 80 million new cases of gonorrhoea were recorded worldwide in 2020.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) used health records to identify laboratory-confirmed cases of gonorrhoea and chlamydia (another common STI) among 16–23-year-olds in New York City and Philadelphia from 2016 to 2018. These cases were compared to immunisation records to determine people’s vaccination status with 4CMenB (a meningitis vaccine).

There were more than 167,000 infections (18,099 gonorrhoea, 124,876 chlamydia, and 24,731 co-infections) among almost 110,000 people. A total of 7,692 people had received the 4CMenB vaccine, with 4,032 (52%) receiving one dose, 3,596 (47%) two doses, and 64 (less than 1%) more than two doses. Full 4CMenB vaccination – receiving two doses – was estimated to provide 40% protection against gonorrhoea. One vaccine dose provided 26% protection.

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