Experts Develop Vaccine As Tablet vs Recurrent UTI
A vaccine tablet that dissolves under the tongue protects against urinary tract infections (UTIs) among mice and rabbits. If it is shown to work in people, it could reduce the need to treat these infections with antibiotics, Alice Klein reported for New Scientist,
Photo Insert: These recurrent infections are often managed with daily antibiotics to prevent overgrowths of the Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria that cause most UTIs.
More than half of all women get at least one UTI in their lifetime and between 5% and 10% experience three or more per year.
These recurrent infections are often managed with daily antibiotics to prevent overgrowths of the Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria that cause most UTIs. However, long-term antibiotic use can lead to bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics and disrupt healthy populations of gut bacteria, leading to gastrointestinal symptoms.
As an alternative to antibiotics, Sean Kelly and Joel Collier at Duke University in North Carolina and their colleagues have developed a vaccine for preventing UTIs. It trains the immune system to recognize and fight UTI-causing bacteria by exposing it to three peptide molecules that are found on the surface of these microbes.
It has been formulated as a tablet that dissolves under the tongue. This mode of vaccine delivery can elicit immune responses in the urinary tract due to similarities between the mucous membranes lining the mouth and urinary tract.
The tablet can be self-administered and is stable at room temperature, making it easy to store, transport, and use.
“Eliminating the cold-chain requirement has the potential to lower costs of vaccine delivery,” says Kelly. Among mice, the vaccine worked as well as high-dose antibiotics for preventing UTIs, and a follow-up experiment in rabbits also demonstrated protective effects.