Chlamydia is the pathogen that causes one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. Annually, over 100 million people contract the bacterial infection, which in severe cases can lead to blindness and infertility.
Human Pap smear showing chlamydial infection. Source: Harvard
These symptoms, however, could now become a thing of the past. An international research team led by Dr. Georg Stary from the University Clinic of Dermatology at the Medical University of Vienna have discovered how to stimulate the immune response to Chlamydiae, both efficiently and preventively. In effect, providing a pathway for chlamydia vaccinations.
The research findings of the team were recently published in Science magazine, the world's leading journal of original scientific research, global news, and commentary. In their research study, Dr. Stary and his team were able to mimic a Chlamydia infection in a mouse, using nanotechnology. They then developed a protective vaccine, which activates two waves of immune cells. Stary points out the importance of their discovery, stating if “the infection is not picked up in the early stages, it can progress into a chronic form and then antibiotics are mostly ineffective."
Vaccinations against chlamydia have been direly requested by the medical world, especially, as “…previous attempts to immunize humans against Chlamydia infections not only failed but, in some cases, even made them more susceptible to infection with Chlamydiae,” Stary notes.
According to MedUni Vienna-Dermatology, the new findings could also lead to the successful development of an effective strategy for vaccinating against other types of mucosal infection.