A vaccination against chlamydia has passed tests

Catriona Harvey-Jenner
Photo credit: freelancer - Getty Images

From Cosmopolitan

A vaccination against the sexually transmitted infection chlamydia has passed initial safety tests, providing hope that the spread of the disease may ultimately be slowed down in the UK.

Chlamydia is the most common STI in the world, and despite screening programmes and antibiotic treatment being available, neither have reduced its rate of incidence so far.

The results of a research study into the functionality and potential side effects of a chlamydia vaccination were recently published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.

The small trial, conducted by professors from Imperial College London, compared two different formulations of the vaccine alongside a placebo injection in 35 women. No major adverse effects were recorded from either of the formulations, and one immunisation concoction proved to be more successful than the other. This will now be moved into the next phase of testing.

Because chlamydia tends to display no symptoms, people are often unaware they have the infection, hence its vast spread. An immunisation programme may be the best way of reducing the number of chlamydia cases going forward.

"The findings are encouraging as they show the vaccine is safe and produces the type of immune response that could potentially protect against chlamydia," said Professor Robin Shattock, who worked on the study.

Photo credit: Getty Images

"We hope to start the next phase of testing in the next year to two. If those trials go well we might have a vaccine that can be rolled out in around five years."

It's thought the chlamydia vaccination could one day be offered to young teenage boys and girls alongside the HPV jab that protects against cervical cancer.

Chlamydia is widely symptomless (roughly 75% of females and 50% of males see no symptoms) and is therefore known as the "silent" infection. Symptoms, when they do appear, can include:

  • Unusual discharge from the vagina, penis or rectum
  • Burning and itching in the genital area if you're male
  • Pain when peeing
  • Heavy periods or bleeding between periods
  • Pelvic and lower abdominal pain
  • Abdominal pain in women during vaginal sex
  • Bleeding during or after sex
  • Painful swelling of testicles

If left untreated, chlamydia may prove a risk to fertility.

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