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Chlamydia vaccine
is on the horizon

Chlamydia vaccine
is on the horizon

In a recent study, researchers reported findings that could set the stage for the development of a vaccine against Chlamydia trachomatis. Antibodies to one protein may prevent infection by all 15 strains of chlamydia, reported Harlan Caldwell and Deborah Crane, researchers with the Rocky Mountain Laboratories of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Caldwell began research identifying the protein in 1975, but technology was inadequate then to advance it, so he froze the materials. A few years ago, when new genetic information about the bacteria's composition made research possible, he resumed the work. The research now moves from test tubes to animal testing, which could be complete within two to three years and move to clinical trials within five years, said Caldwell.

"When we find test tube results that are this encouraging, it gives us a lot of optimism in moving forward," said Caldwell. "This is in the first step, there's no question, but the fact you can kill chlamydia in a test tube, and not only kill it, but kill all the strains of the disease, it has great promise in moving forward."

"If this does turn out to be protective against multiple variants of Chlamydia trachomatis, then this would be a very big thing in the world of chlamydia, because potentially we could protect young women from the different strains of chlamydia," said Crane. "It could have a huge impact economically and to prevent sexually transmitted diseases."

Although chlamydia is more common among heterosexual women, it also can affect gay men and lesbians. The STD can infect the genital tract as well as the mouth and anus. (Reuters, with additional reporting by

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