NewsDesk @bactiman63

Researchers at The University of Adelaide have found that the meningococcal B vaccine could improve protection against gonorrhea in addition to protection against meningococcal B meningitis.


This significant finding, in a joint study with the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, coincides with a rise in gonorrhea cases globally and increasing bacterial resistance to drugs used to treat the infection.

The observational study found that two doses of the meningococcal B vaccine were 33 per cent effective against gonorrhea in adolescents and young adults.

Professor Helen Marshall AM said the research aims to reduce not only gonorrhea infection, but also the long-term effects of gonorrhea, including infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease and blindness in babies born to infected mothers.

“With more than 106 million cases of gonorrhea worldwide, and increasing at a rapid rate, the issue is firmly on the World Health Organization’s agenda,” Professor Marshall said.

“This research will feed into WHO’s vaccine roadmap to evaluate the evidence about the ability of vaccines to prevent gonorrhea. Traditionally, treatment for gonorrhea has relied on antibiotics, but as these have become increasingly less effective due to antibiotic resistant strains, it is vital that we explore new and improved measures to battle this infection.

“In South Australia, where we have a state-funded meningococcal B (MenB) vaccine program for infants, children and adolescents since 2019, we have been able to observe that its effectiveness against gonorrhea in adolescents is about 33 per cent. Two years after introduction of the state-funded MenB vaccine program, we are already observing high effectiveness against meningococcal B disease and also moderate effectiveness in preventing gonorrhea.

“The unprecedented scale of South Australia’s MenB vaccination program offers valuable real-world evidence of the vaccine’s effectiveness against meningococcal B meningitis in children and adolescents, and gonorrhea in adolescents and young people. This information is vital to inform global meningitis vaccination program and policy decisions.”

Left unchecked, gonorrhea can spread to the blood and cause disseminated gonococcal infection (DGI). DGI is usually characterized by arthritis, tenosynovitis, and/or dermatitis and, ultimately, the condition can be life threatening.