Health Problems

Mouse models may not accurately mimic severity of gonorrhea infection

There is an urgent need to develop a vaccine to prevent gonorrhea infection due to rapidly increasing incidence and growing antibiotic resistance. BUSM researchers (in collaboration with University of Toronto researchers) have been investigating the use of animal models of gonorrhea, to study how the infection evolves and for potential use to determine the efficacy of next generation vaccines. They found that the mouse model may not fully reflect the severity of the infection and the types of immune responses seen in humans.

Gonorrhea is a rapidly worsening public health threat. In 2017 more than 550,000 new cases of gonorrhea were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (a 67 percent increase from 2013), while the World Health Organization places global yearly incidence at 106.1 million cases. Researchers believe these figures may underestimate the actual disease burden by up to two-thirds. In addition, there is significant evidence that gonorrhea is becoming increasingly drug-resistant. According to most experts in the field, these factors make it even more essential that we develop effective gonorrhea vaccines and have adequate animal models in which to test their efficacy.

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