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Every year, about 131 million cases of chlamydia are diagnosed worldwide. Chlamydia, a sexually transmitted infection (STI), can be treated with antibiotics. However, the infection often has no symptoms and hence many people are unaware they even have it – it is hence deemed to be ‘a hidden epidemic’. Without adequate treatment, it can lead to a range of complications among men and women alike, including fertility issues and an increased risk of HIV.

A recent clinical trial has led to the development of a vaccine which protects against chlamydia – this innovation ensures researchers and medical practitioners are one step closer to a reality in which the provision of a safe and effective vaccine against the STI is possible.

During the randomised controlled trial, led by Imperial College, London and the Statens Serum Institut based in Copenhagen, the vaccine, which was administered to participants, successfully provoked an immune response, boosting levels of antibodies against the chlamydia bacterium in both the blood and vaginal fluids. Further, the results of the trial showed no serious adverse reactions to the vaccines given, suggesting it may be safe to administer to populations on a larger scale. The study’s lead researcher, Dr. Frank Follmann, suggests that the vaccination could provide sufficient protection against the STI and that, although the novel vaccine is still in an early stage of development, the promising trial results ensure that testing can proceed to the next stage, with a larger number of participants.

Students planning to apply for Human Sciences, along with those applying for Biology as well as for Medicine, can consider how pioneering developments in scientific research such as this one may contribute to paving the way for a healthier, safer world population in the future.

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