Hues and Cries: Colour Changing Condoms and Chlamydia Vaccines

Journal readers may be interested in the paper by Stary et al in last month’s edition of Science magazine, which reports on early trials of a mucosal, killed vaccine against Chlamydia.

 Chlamydia remains one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the UK, and creates a significant disease burden with the associated risk of pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility. Recent surveillance reports suggest that the worst affected area in the UK for chlamydia is Hackney, in London. Previous efforts to produce a vaccine in the 1960s were halted after the treatment arm was found to be more susceptible to the disease.

 For the time being, the prospect of a vaccine appears remote, given that the current trials have only been performed on mice, and it remains to be seen whether this route produces useful immunity in humans.

Meanwhile, much consternation has resulted from the colour-changing condoms presented at the TeenTech awards, which were reported in the lay press as being a real thing which have actually been invented. Those working in sexual health can breathe a sigh of relief that the product is not available to buy, and then idea is merely a hypothetical use of ELISA technology to detect mucosal antibodies to common sexually transmitted infections. It remains to be seen whether this is even a feasible use of the technology suggested; however credit is due to the students for bringing the topic of sexually transmitted infections and the use of condoms to prevent them to the attention of consumers.

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