It is the most frequent sexually transmitted disease (STD) and in up to 70% of cases it does so asymptomatically, and when it manifests it does so with symptoms very similar to other STDs such as Gonorrhea or Trichomoniasis: changes in the color, smell or amount of vaginal secretions in women and discharge at the end of the penis in men, discomfort when urinating in both sexes. Occasionally, this can lead to complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease – affects one in six women with chlamydia – infertility and ectopic pregnancies (pregnancies that occur outside the uterus). For their part, men can develop a very painful infection in the testicles and, less often, a type of arthritis called Reiter’s syndrome.
A study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, in which researchers from the Statens Serum Institut, in Denmark, state that the vaccine called CTH522, has shown safety and efficacy in a phase I trial, the first in clinical research. The concrete experiment to analyze the promising vaccine divided the 35 women into three groups: two were given the CTH522 vaccine and a third a placebo. But between the two groups to which the vaccine administered was deferred: 15 received it combined with CAF01 liposomes and 15 with aluminum hydroxide. All of them assumed the drug without adverse side effects and, in addition, generated an immune response against the bacteria, but one of the two immunizations produced six antibodies more than the other. Both formulations were administered in five doses: three punctures and two intranasally. After the completion of the study, the researchers saw clearly that the most promising of the vaccines was that combined with liposomes and that it was the one that should pass to the second phase of the investigation. However, as many authors of the study as the editorial accompanying the publication of the study are cautious: at the moment an experiment with 35 women does not allow to ensure that there will be a chlamydia vaccine soon. Of course, if it ended up happening it would be a tool with an important impact on public health.
The importance of the vaccine is not only focused on protecting against a more annoying than serious disease – and also has an effective treatment with antibiotics – but on addressing the high number of cases that go unnoticed by not causing symptoms, something that estimated to happen in 70% of cases, especially in the throat and rectum. In addition, it is known that chlamydia is associated with a greater susceptibility than other sexually transmitted infections, a problem that worries the Ministry of Health, which since July of this year launched the “Always Preservative” campaign, precisely because of the increase in STDs in In recent years, derived from the decrease in condom use.