STI research: Vaccine shown to protect against gonorrhoea

In a groundbreaking development, scientists in New Zealand have discovered they indirectly developed a vaccine which protects against gonorrhoea.

Between 2004 and 2006, approximately one million adolescents were given the vaccine which was originally developed to stop the outbreak of meningitis B.

Interestingly, after analysing data obtained from sexual health clinics, researchers at the University of Auckland established that cases of gonorrhoea had fallen 31 per cent in those who had been vaccinated, thereby proving that the Men B jab provided 'cross protection'.

A report into the findings stated: "Exposure to MeNZB was associated with reduced rates of gonorrhoea diagnosis, the first time a vaccine has shown any protection against gonorrhoea."

"These results provide a proof of principle that can inform prospective vaccine development not only for gonorrhoea but also for meningococcal vaccines."

With the sexually transmitted disease hitting the headlines for its apparent immunity to antibiotics, researchers are keen to highlight the significance of these findings.

"This is the first time a vaccine has shown any protection against gonorrhoea," Dr Helen Petousis-Harris said.

"At the moment, the mechanism behind this immune response is unknown, but our findings could inform future vaccine development." 

The research has been published in the Lancet Journal.

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