Rejoice: a chlamydia vaccine could soon be on the way

The treatment has proven to be safe in the first ever human trial

With sexually transmitted infections at a record high in the US, and super-gonorrhoea officially a thing, news that a chlamydia vaccine has been declared safe is potentially revolutionary.

The treatment has moved closer to becoming a reality following the first ever human trial, in which the vaccine boosted levels of antibodies against the STI.

The report on The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal states: “Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted bacterial infection worldwide. National screening programmes and antibiotic treatment have failed to decrease incidence.”

At the moment, chlamydia is treated with antibiotics once sufferers have been diagnosed. However given the infection typically shows no symptoms, the current treatment doesn’t necessarily offer protection from side effects if someone has had the STI for a long time, including infertility and an increased risk of HIV.

The pioneering study aims to find a preventative method which could eventually be given at the same time as the HPV vaccine, which protects against cervical cancer. 127 million cases of chlamydia are diagnosed worldwide each year, so a new form of treatment is an urgent venture.

Researchers in London gathered 35 female participants aged between 19 and 45 who did not have chlamydia. Three injections were administered over four months, with one strain of the vaccine given to 15 women, a different strain to another 15, and a placebo to five. These were then followed by two doses via a nasal spray in the weeks after. 

The findings declare no serious adverse reactions, with women who were given the vaccine producing an immune response. Researchers also believe the treatment would be effective without the additional nasal spray.

Co-author Dr Frank Follmann told the Guardian: “We see the antibodies (in vaginal fluid) as a first line of defence. They should be able to target the bacteria once it enters the genital tract.”

Although research is in its early days, a chlamydia vaccine could save millions of people from adverse effects of the infection. Of course there’s also the added bonus of eradicating awkward STI texts to Tinder one-night stands. Two birds!