$41.6 Million Dollars Awarded For Syphilis, Gonorrhea, and Chlamydia Vaccine Research

Vaccines are needed for Herpes (HSV) and other sexually transmitted infections

researcher looking thru a microscope

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) announced financial awards of $41.6 million dollars to establish Cooperative Research Centers (CRCs) focused on developing vaccines to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs). 

These grants will support collaborative, multidisciplinary research on the bacteria that cause syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. 

Moreover, these STIs can cause long-term health problems and problems during pregnancy. 

“STI research has recently evolved rapidly on multiple fronts, and this new knowledge can now be applied to a critical remaining challenge — the development of safe and effective vaccines for diseases that pose significant and growing public health burdens,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. 

These 3 STIs impacted over 2.2 million USA residents in 2017. 

“Research at these new CRCs should help fill the pipeline with several vaccine candidates that have feasible pathways to licensure in the U.S,” said Dr. Fauci in a press release. 

These CRCs are funded through this new program will conduct at least 3 research projects organized on a common theme. 

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One center, based at the UConn Health School of Medicine, will receive up to $11 million over 5 years to study syphilis, which is the 2nd leading cause of miscarriage and stillbirth worldwide. 

Two of the centers are focused on gonorrhea, an STI caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Especially concerning is the fact that the bacteria that cause gonorrhea have become resistant to most antibiotics. 

A 4th center, based at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill will receive up to $10.7 million over 5 years to advance chlamydia vaccine research. Chlamydia trachomatis is the most common sexually transmitted bacterial pathogen in the world. 

Most chlamydia infections are asymptomatic, but untreated chlamydia infections in women can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease or infertility and have been linked to ovarian cancer. 

The NIAID conducts and supports research throughout the United States, and worldwide — to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses.

News releases, fact sheets, and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID website.

Click here for more information about NIH and its programs.