The vaccine has been waiting for many years. Women may soon be vaccinated against chlamydia infection, a common sexually transmitted disease that can lead to infertility, the results of preliminary research conducted for developing a vaccine are encouraging, according to a study published Tuesday and quoted by AFP.
Published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, the study shows that a developing vaccine is "safe and capable of eliciting an immune response."
But despite the "encouraging" results, scientists are still in a preliminary stage, with more research being needed "to find out if the triggered immune response effectively protects against chlamydia infection," according to the study.
This would be the first vaccine made against this bacterial infection and in the next stage of the research it will be tested in a clinical trial.
Annually, 131 million people worldwide are infected with chlamydia, according to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO).
However, these estimates may be far from the reality, as about 70% of infected women show no symptoms and are not aware that they have contracted this infection with sexual transmission.
Chlamydia is more common among women between the ages of 18 and 25 than men of the same age. In women, the disease can lead to serious complications, including pelvic inflammatory disease, extrauterine pregnancy and even infertility.
In addition, it increases the risk of contracting other sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea or HIV infection, the AIDS virus.
Chlamydia infection can be cured with antibiotic treatment. However, "given the impact of this epidemic on women, reproductive health and children in the event of transmission (…), the need for a vaccine is real," said one of the study's authors, Professor Peter Andersen from the Danish research institute Statens Serum Institute.
The researchers conducted the study on 35 women who were not infected with chlamydia, using two different vaccine formulations. Fifteen of them received one of these formulations (given five times, by injections in the arm, then by nasal spray), and another fifteen received the second formulation, five times, and the last five received a placebo, writes Agerpres.
Both vaccine formulations elicited an immune response manifested by antibody production in all tested women.
However, the performance of the first formulation was better because it allowed the production of several antibodies. Therefore, she was chosen for further research.
"Although it takes more years of research, we intend to move to the next stage, the second phase clinical trial," explained researcher Helene B. Juel from the team of scientists who published the study.