Study brings chlamydia vaccine hope

A vaccine for chlamydia – the most common sexually transmitted disease – could be developed following a breakthrough by scientists.

For decades experts have been prevented from fully understanding the bacteria as they have been unable to manipulate the genome of chlamydia trachomatis (C. trachomatis).

Now researchers in Southampton have made a significant breakthrough in accessing the chlamydial genome and believe it could pave the way for more effective treatment of the disease.

The research was carried out at the Molecular Microbiology Group at the University of Southampton in conjunction with the department of virology at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.

Professor Ian Clarke, from the University of Southampton, said: “We, together with our colleagues in Israel, discovered that by treating the chlamydia with calcium ions we were able to introduce a piece of foreign DNA.

“This will open up the field of chlamydia research and will enable a better understanding of chlamydial genetics. It could lead to the development of new approaches to chlamydial vaccines and therapeutic interventions.”

Their paper detailing the breakthrough in the study of chlamydia is published in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Pathogens and carried as a news story in the UK.