Wednesday August 21, 2019

Vaccine for Chlamydia Shows Promise in Preliminary Clinical Trials

A study in the medical journal Lancet says the vaccine triggered an immune response in tests on 35 healthy women

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FILE - A woman receives a vaccination in this 2009 file photo. Researchers say a vaccine for chlamydia — the world's most common sexually transmitted disease — is showing promise. VOA

European researchers say a vaccine for chlamydia — the world’s most common sexually transmitted disease — shows promise in preliminary clinical trials, but more tests are needed.

A study in the medical journal Lancet says the vaccine triggered an immune response in tests on 35 healthy women.

The researchers say they must now determine if the vaccine can actually prevent chlamydia.

Doctors say a vaccine against the disease would have a huge impact on public health and the economy around the world.

Vaccine, Chlamydia, Trials
European researchers say a vaccine for chlamydia — the world’s most common sexually transmitted disease — shows promise in preliminary clinical trials, but more tests are needed. Pixabay

“Given the impact of the chlamydia epidemic on women’s health, infant health through transmission, and increased susceptibility to other sexual diseases, a global unmet medical need exists for a vaccine,” said Peter Anderson, Imperial College of London professor and co-author of the study.

Although chlamydia is easily diagnosed and treated with antibiotics, such treatment has failed to curb the epidemic. About 130 million people around the world are infected every year.

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Untreated, it can lead to pelvic inflammation in women and possible infertility. Chlamydia in pregnancy could cause miscarriage, stillbirth, or premature delivery. (VOA)

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Uganda Launching Largest-Ever Trial of Experimental Ebola Vaccine

The trial of the Janssen Pharmaceuticals vaccine involves up to 800 people and is supported by Doctors

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Uganda, Ebola, Vaccine
FILE - A woman and her child arrive for an Ebola-related investigation at the health facility at the Bwera hospital near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo in Bwera, Uganda, June 14, 2019. VOA

Researchers in Uganda are launching the largest-ever trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine that is expected to be deployed in neighboring Congo, where a deadly outbreak has killed over 1,800 people.

The trial of the Janssen Pharmaceuticals vaccine involves up to 800 people and is supported by Doctors without Borders and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Pontiano Kaleebu, a Ugandan researcher who leads the trial, said Friday that he regrets that the Janssen vaccine has not yet been deployed in Congo. The health minister there who stepped down last month had argued against its deployment, saying a second vaccine could create confusion on the ground.

Already more than 180,000 people in Congo’s yearlong outbreak have received an experimental but effective Merck vaccine, but health experts worry about the availability of doses as the virus now spreads in a major city, Goma, along the Rwanda border. The wife and 1-year-old daughter of the man who died this week of Ebola in Goma now have the disease.

Uganda, Ebola, Vaccine
Researchers in Uganda are launching the largest-ever trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine that is expected to be deployed in neighboring Congo. Pixabay

The Janssen vaccine has already been tested in about 6,000 people, most of them Africans, Kaleebu said. “We are excited about this (trial) … because this is one of the promising vaccines,” he said. “It’s one of those vaccines that have shown a lot of promise in animal studies but also in other trials that have been conducted.”

Ugandan researchers said the new trial is expected to last two years and will test how long any protection from Ebola would last. Juliet Mwanga, a co-investigator on the trial, said there is the need “to study many vaccines” in light of Congo’s epidemic.

Health experts have watched with dismay as the promise of the Merck vaccine in this outbreak has been largely overshadowed by severe challenges to virus containment efforts including rebel attacks and community resistance in a part of Congo that had never experienced Ebola before.

Uganda has had multiple Ebola outbreaks in the past. While it is currently free of the virus, three people who crossed on an unguarded footpath into the country in June died before their family members were taken back to Congo for treatment.

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The Ebola virus can spread quickly and be fatal in up to 90% of cases. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and at times internal and external bleeding. The virus is most often spread by close contact with bodily fluids of people exhibiting symptoms and with contaminated objects such as sheets. Health care workers are often at risk. (VOA)