Meningitis B Vaccine Shows Gonorrhea Protection

About 78 million people pick up the STI each year and it can cause infertility.About 78 million people pick up the STI each year and it can cause infertility.

A vaccine has for the first time been shown to protect against the sexually transmitted infection gonorrhea, scientists in New Zealand say.

There are fears gonorrhea is becoming untreatable as antibiotics fail.

The World Health Organization sees developing a vaccine as vital in stopping the global spread of “super-gonorrhea”, BBC News reported.

The study of 15,000 young people, published in the Lancet, showed infections were cut by about a third.

About 78 million people pick up the sexually transmitted infection each year, and it can cause infertility.

The vaccine, originally developed to stop an outbreak of meningitis B, was given to about a million adolescents in New Zealand between 2004 and 2006.

Researchers at the University of Auckland analysed data from sexual health clinics and found gonorrhoea cases had fallen 31% in those vaccinated.

The bacterium that causes meningitis, Neisseria meningitidis, is a very close relative of the species that causes gonorrhea - Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

It appears the meningitis B jab was giving “cross-protection” against gonorrhea.

Helen Petousis-Harris, one of the researchers, said: “This is the first time a vaccine has shown any protection against gonorrhea.

“At the moment, the mechanism behind this immune response is unknown, but our findings could inform future vaccine development.”

Protection seemed to last about two years.

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