Gonorrhea Vaccine: Microsphere NGoXIM vaccine to beat US' most common bacterial infection
Photo: Outbreak News Today

The urgent need for Gonorrhea vaccine

There is a clear need for a gonorrhea vaccine. Seventy-eight million new N. gonorrhoeae infections occur each year and an estimated 2300 deaths and 467,700–974,900 lost disability-adjusted life years result from gonorrhea-associated morbidity. A disproportionate burden of disease falls on low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) and other economically and socially disadvantaged populations, and although culture or NAAT testing are the diagnostic standard, syndromic management is the reality of care in many LMIC, which complicates disease reporting, documentation of AMR trends, and treatment failures. Gonorrhea is also a co-factor for increased spread of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Significantly higher levels of HIV-1 RNA are detected in seminal plasma in HIV-seropositive men with urethritis, with the highest HIV-1 RNA levels in men with gonorrhea. In addition to these findings, a prospective STI study in South Africa showed an almost 5-fold increased risk of HIV in patients when gonorrhea was present, reports sciencedirect.

In response to the current AMR threat, research on novel anti-infectives for gonorrhea has increased and three new antimicrobials have been tested in Phase II or III clinical trials. In 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Drugs for Neglected Disease initiative launched the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP).

In addition to setting up multiple programs to develop new treatments for STIs, the GARDP drafted ideal and acceptable Target Product Profiles (TPPs) for treatment of gonorrhea to stimulate drug discovery and development. However, even when effective therapy for gonorrhea is available, gonorrhea remains a highly prevalent disease, and new antimicrobials may be a short-term solution based on the historical propensity of the gonococcus to develop resistance. Besides providing a more effective public health tool, a gonorrhea vaccine would also drive antibiotic sparing and reduced use, which in turn would extend the lifespan of licensed antibiotics and reduce the enormous investment of finances, time and labor required for global surveillance and the frequent revision of treatment guidelines.

First Prophylactic Gonorrhea Vaccine Developed

Gonorrhea Vaccine: Microsphere NGoXIM vaccine to beat US' most common bacterial infection
Photo: BioSpectrum Asia

Intravacc, a global leader in translational research and development of viral and bacterial vaccines, has partnered with American, Buffalo, NY, based Therapyx, to further develop and optimize the world’s first prophylactic vaccine against gonorrhea, NGoXIM. For this Therapyx received a $ 2.8 million Phase IIB grant in the US and has chosen to partner with Intravacc for its unique capabilities and infrastructure for the optimization of vaccines, vaccine processes and vaccine technologies.

According to Outbreaknewstoday, NGoXIM is a microsphere vaccine with encapsulated interleukin-12 (IL-12) and outer bacterial membrane vesicles from Neisseria gonorrhoeae, developed with Intravacc’s OMV platform. This vaccine therefore consists of a combination of adjuvant and antigen, specifically designed for mucosal immunization. Vaccination with NGoXIM has been shown to induce potent and persistent antibacterial activity in primates. In this collaboration, the parties will focus on enhancing and optimizing the specific adaptive immune response in non-human primates as a prelude to testing in humans. This should ultimately lead to a vaccine that provides lasting protection against infection with the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria.

Gonorrhea is the second most common bacterial infectious disease in the US, with a reported incidence of more than 300,000 cases per year. The Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria, a gram-negative aerobic 0.6–1.0 µm bacteria, is the cause of this sexually transmitted disease. Due to under-reporting and asymptomatic disease course, the true incidence is believed to be more than double. There is currently no effective gonorrhea vaccine available and the disease is known to be contracted repeatedly without apparently developing protective immunity as a result of previous infection. In addition, antibiotic resistance is increasingly common for this bacterium. The US-based Center for Disease Control and Prevention has listed antibiotic resistant N. gonorrhoeae as one of the top three pathogens that “pose an immediate threat to public health that must be urgently and aggressively addressed”.

To treat gonorrhea, some home remedies adopted

There is no proof showing that those remedies bring good results. Researchers have actually put a lot of popular gonorrhea home remedies to the test in various studies over the years. Let’s examine why they don’t hold up.


Gonorrhea Vaccine: Microsphere NGoXIM vaccine to beat US' most common bacterial infection
Photo: WebMD

Garlic is known for its antibacterial properties, making it a common home remedy for bacterial infections.

An older 2005 study examined the effects of garlic products and extracts on gonorrhea-causing bacteria. The researchers found 47 percent of the products studied showed antimicrobial activity against the bacteria.

This is somewhat promising — but this study was done in a laboratory setting, not on humans with gonorrhea.


Researchers studied the effects of the antiseptic mouthwash Listerine on gonorrhea bacteria present in people’s mouths, according to a 2016 article.

The study’s researchers asked men who had oral gonorrhea to use Listerine mouthwash or a placebo for one minute daily.

At the study’s conclusion, the researchers found that 52 percent of men who used Listerine were culture-positive, while 84 percent of those who used a saline placebo mouthwash were positive.

The study’s authors concluded that Listerine may help treat — but not necessarily cure — oral gonorrhea, cites healthline.


Also known as berberine or Hydrastis canadensis L., goldenseal is a plant known to have antimicrobial properties. European settlers in the 1800s used goldenseal as a treatment for gonorrhea.

While some research exists surrounding using goldenseal as an alternative to antibiotics to treat resistant staph bacteria, there isn’t any significant research about goldenseal to treat gonorrhea.

While the settlers may have tried it, it’s not a proven method.

Apple cider vinegar

Gonorrhea Vaccine: Microsphere NGoXIM vaccine to beat US' most common bacterial infection
Photo: Healthline
An internet search for natural gonorrhea remedies often recommends apple cider vinegar taken orally or applied topically as a solution. However, there aren’t any research studies to support or refute these claims.

While apple cider vinegar might have some antibacterial properties, it’s also highly acidic, which can irritate the delicate tissues of your genitals.

For more information about top diseases in the US and India, how to treat, and vaccines for those common infectious diseases, please click here!

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