No vaccines against the disease are available and development has proven challenging. UT Health San Antonio scientists, however, have created a novel approach which has demonstrated ‘strong results’ in mouse models.
Developed in the laboratory of Guangming Zhong, Ph.D., at UT Health San Antonio, the novel vaccine candidate utilizes a live attenuated Chlamydia strain, Chlamydia muridarum (“C. muridarum”). After oral delivery of the vaccine, C. muridarum was able to colonize in the gastrointestinal tract of mice and induce transmucosal protection against genital tract Chlamydia infection, without altering the gut microbiota or the development of gut mucosal resident memory T cell responses to a non-chlamydial infection. In addition, the vaccine was shown to be nonpathogenic in mice, indicating the potential to develop the live attenuated C. muridarum vaccine into a protective, human Chlamydia vaccine.
“With millions of new and existing infections each year and no preventative treatment available, there remains a large unmet need for an efficacious Chlamydia vaccine both here in the US and on a global scale,” said Joseph Hernandez, Chairman and CEO of Blue Water Vaccines. “We are thrilled to enter into this partnership with UT Health San Antonio and to pursue development of this groundbreaking vaccine candidate.”
According to the US Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), Chlamydia is the most frequently reported bacterial STI in the US, with about 1.6 million new cases reported in 2020. Globally, the WHO estimates about 129 million new cases of chlamydia each year and may be and underrepresentation given many cases are asymptomatic and low availability of diagnostic testing in low- and middle-income countries.
The main treatment is through antibiotic regimens. If undetected or left untreated, Chlamydia represents a major cause of pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility in women.
Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, Blue Water Vaccines’ pipeline includes a universal flu vaccine that will provide protection from all virulent strains in addition to licensing a novel norovirus (NoV) S&P nanoparticle versatile virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine platform from Cincinnati Children’s to develop vaccines for multiple infectious diseases, including norovirus/rotavirus and malaria, among others. Additionally, Blue Water Vaccines is developing a Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) vaccine candidate, designed to specifically prevent the highly infectious middle ear infections, known as Acute Otitis Media (AOM), in children.