Best Life: Developing gonorrhea vaccine

Updated: May. 29, 2020 at 5:42 AM CDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Ivanhoe Newswire) --- It’s being called a young person’s disease, with the highest incidence of infection in people between the ages 15 to 24. Now researchers are a step closer to developing a vaccine to stop gonorrhea in its tracks.

Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported disease in the United States and if not treated the effects can be destructive.

“Particularly among women, namely pelvic inflammatory disease, which very frequently leads to infertility,” Cynthia Cornelissen, Ph.D., a professor of microbiology and immunology at Georgia State University told Ivanhoe.

And even though there is a cure, experts are concerned with the increase of antibiotic resistance.

“It’s also became what’s known as an urgent threat pathogen,” Professor Cornelissen explained.

Because gonorrhea has developed resistance to nearly every drug used for treatment.

“That’s pretty scary because it could be an untreatable case pretty soon, “Julie Stoudenmire, Ph.D., a post-doctoral associate at Georgia State University shared.

Now Cornelissen and her team are working on a way to stop the spread of the disease, by cutting off the supply of metals and minerals the pathogen needs to survive.

“They can hijack the metals from their host directly from these metal-binding proteins, so, they’re sort of the ultimate kleptomaniac,” Professor Cornelissen illustrated.

Cornelissen discovered that by blocking the pathogen from stealing minerals, such as zinc and iron from its human host, they can starve and kill it, preventing the infection from spreading.

Now using that information, Cornelissen is developing a vaccine to block the gonorrhea pathogen from even infecting the host.

“If we could develop vaccines against these SDI pathogens, we could, you know, nip this sort of epidemic in the bud,” Professor Cornelissen shared.

Cornelissen says it’s her hope this gonorrhea vaccine will decrease the rate of gonorrhea infections and in turn prevent women from getting pelvic inflammatory disease, which again, can lead to infertility.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer; Milvionne Chery, Field Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer & Editor.

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