Combating AMR and Sexually Transmitted Diseases with Innovative Vaccines
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the world’s most urgent public health threats. Recent estimates suggest that already, AMR is directly responsible for more than 1.27 million deaths annually1. By 2050, more people are predicted to die as a result of AMR than of cancer2. The impact of AMR on human health, as well as animal health, agriculture and the economy cannot be underestimated, and it is essential that progress is made in the development of novel therapeutics.
Vaccines represent a vital part of the strategy to combat AMR. Although resistance to an antimicrobial is frequently observed just a few years after introduction, resistance to a vaccine is almost unheard of. Vaccines prevent infection before it ever takes hold, so illness is averted, and as they are entirely pathogen specific, they do not harm the natural microbiome. The impact even goes beyond limiting development of resistance. For example, the widespread introduction of vaccination against Streptococcus pneumoniae (itself a serious AMR threat) has not only prevented millions of antibiotic prescriptions3, it has actually reduced circulating levels of resistance4. Vaccines also protect our existing antimicrobials.
Vaccines are Crucial in the Fight Against AMR
The concurrent rise of antimicrobial resistance and incidence of sexually transmitted infections is a dangerous combination. In the past decade, cases of gonorrhoea have more than doubled in many countries – in the US for example this means more than 1.6 million new infections last year, half of which were antibiotic resistant5.
Gonorrhoea Will Soon be Untreatable
Over the past 80 years, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the causative agent of gonorrhoea, has steadily developed resistance to all antimicrobial treatments. Already today, only one recommended treatment option remains, and treatment failures have been observed in multiple countries. Neisseria gonorrhoeae will continue to develop resistance to any new antimicrobials that are introduced, and in just a few years untreatable disease may be widespread. An alternative solution is urgently needed – a vaccine.
Our Solution for Gonorrhoea: a 6-in-1 Vaccine
We are developing an innovative vaccine against gonorrhoea based on a set of novel and highly conserved antigens. Our strategy is designed to overcome the natural immune evasion mechanisms of Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and to be globally efficacious. The vaccine is based on a versatile platform that allows us to combine multiple antigens in a single production batch whilst also incorporating an optimised adjuvant. This platform is highly cost-effective and will also allow us to address global health markets. To date, no gonococcus-specific vaccine has advanced beyond preclinical phase, and we are planning to begin the first clinical trial in 2025.
Murray, CJL; Ikuta, KS; Sharara, F; Swetschinski, L; Robles Aguilar, G; Gray, A et al. (2022): Global burden of bacterial antimicrobial resistance in 2019: a systematic analysis. In The Lancet.
O’Neill, J. (2016): Tackling Drug-Resistant Infections Globally: Final Report and recommendations. The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance.
Laxminarayan, R; Matsoso, P; Pant, S; Brower, C; Røttingen, J; Klugman, K; Davies, S (2016): Access to Effective Antimicrobials: A Worldwide Challenge. InThe Lancet 387 (10014), pp. 168–175.
Jansen, KU; Knirsch, C; Anderson, AS (2018): The role of vaccines in preventing bacterial antimicrobial resistance. InNature Medicine 24 (1), pp. 10–19.
Kreisel, KM; Weston, EJ; St Cyr, SB; Spicknall, IH. (2021): Estimates of the Prevalence and Incidence of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Among US Men and Women, 2018. In Sex Transm Dis 48 (4), pp. 222–231.