According to a new study, the future holds an oral vaccine that gives you immunity to chlamydia.
Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States- it’s estimated that up to 1 in 10 sexually active young females have it. If left untreated, this STD can inflict irreversible damage to fallopian tubes, and lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, or ectopic pregnancy. Even though the issues it causes can be quite severe, in 80 percent of the cases, chlamydia doesn’t have any symptoms at all.
Until now, only known way to prevent chlamydia infection were, of course, abstinence, and safe sex, which could only lower your chances of getting it, but not entirely eliminate them. However, new findings indicate that there could be a way to make yourself immune to genital infection, and it could be as easy as swallowing a pill.
Dr. Guangming Zhong of Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics, at UT Health San Antonio, was at the head of the research team which found out that chlamydia vaccine might be a viable solution for prevention of this STD. During their trials on mice, researchers realized something unusual: the site of first exposure to chlamydia has a dramatic impact on how the infection affects our bodies. In case that the chlamydia was first contracted as a genital infection, through unprotected sex, a person risks having harmful consequences of the disease. But, if chlamydia was first introduced to one’s gastrointestinal tract, it becomes a vaccine of sorts- and makes you immunized against further disease and infection.
The extraordinary findings indicate that it would be entirely possible to create a chlamydia vaccine in the future. The oral vaccine would essentially function the same way as a probiotic does, only it would populate your GI tract with chlamydia bacteria, effectively rendering you fully immune to this sexually transmitted disease.
Photo credit: pathdoc/Shutterstock