What you need to know:
- In most cases where the bladder was infected with coli bacteria, the immune system released cells to repair the injured tissue.
- This leaves very few cells to fight off the attacking bacteria.
- As a result, the bacteria are never fully cleared.
Urinary tract infections are some of the most common infections. In Kenya, it is estimated nearly half of all women will get urinary tract infections at some point in their lives.
But now, a newly advanced and more effective method of preventing UTI may be on the way. Researchers at the Duke University Medical School, UK, have successfully developed the first effective vaccine candidate against UTI.
In their findings, the researchers say the new vaccine could be a major breakthrough since there are currently no effective vaccines against UTI despite the high prevalence of bladder infections.
“Although several vaccines against urinary tract infections have been investigated in clinical trials, they have so far had limited success,” said Dr Soman Abraham, the professor of Pathology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at the Duke University Medical Centre.
Dr Abraham, who coordinated the research, said they observed that in most cases where the bladder was infected with coli bacteria, the immune system released cells to repair the injured tissue, leaving very few cells to fight off the attacking bacteria.
As a result, the bacteria are never fully cleared. They hibernate in the bladder, grow and launch other attacks. E coli is a type of bacteria that normally lives in the intestines.
Better than traditional methods
“The new vaccine strategy attempts to teach the bladder to more effectively fight off the attacking bacteria,” said Dr Jianxuan Wu, who was the lead author of the study. “The vaccine worked by being administered directly into the bladder where the residual bacteria harbour the highly effective vaccine antigen, in combination with an adjuvant known to boost the recruitment of bacterial clearing cells,” said Dr Wu.
He further explained that this method of vaccination performed better than traditional intramuscular vaccination. The findings of this study were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.