NIAID officials call for innovative research on sexually transmitted infections

September 09, 2019

WHAT: Sexually transmitted infections, or STIs, pose a significant public health challenge. Globally, more than one million new STI cases are diagnosed each day. In a new article in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, experts from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, suggest that the biomedical research community must refocus its commitment to STI research to surmount this growing global health crisis.

The perspective piece was written by NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Robert W. Eisinger, Ph.D., special assistant for scientific projects in NIAID's Immediate Office of the Director, and Emily Erbelding, M.D., director of NIAID's Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. The authors note that a variety of STIs are contributing to the public health crisis as cases of gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia are all on the rise. Left untreated, many STIs can cause serious complications. Congenital syphilis can cause stillbirths and health complications in newborns, and gonorrhea and chlamydia can contribute to life-threatening ectopic pregnancies (when a fertilized egg grows outside the uterus). Gonorrhea and syphilis, which are increasing among men who have sex with men and bisexual men, also are associated with an increased risk for HIV transmission and acquisition. Moreover, increasing antimicrobial resistance will make STIs only more difficult to treat, as many existing drugs will become less effective against the microbes that cause gonorrhea and other STIs.

Unfortunately, the authors note, STI research efforts have not adequately addressed the ongoing spread of these diseases. To address this public health threat, biomedical research programs need to be refocused on developing innovative diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines for STIs. Healthcare providers need access to faster, low-cost diagnostics to identify both active and asymptomatic STIs. The STI vaccine pipeline also needs to produce effective new candidate vaccines for syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. As for STI therapeutics, the authors note that research efforts must focus on drug-drug interactions, toxicities and side effects, while keeping ahead of spreading antimicrobial resistance.

NIAID has launched an initiative involving six new STI Cooperative Research Centers that will work to develop vaccines for syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia. NIAID also has funded a large clinical trial examining doxycycline post-exposure prophylaxis against STIs in groups at high-risk for HIV and has supported additional novel research efforts. No single entity, however, can tackle the growing public health problem posed by STIs. As the authors note, cooperation among biomedical researchers in the public and private sectors, together with the efforts of community clinics and healthcare providers, will be key to curbing STIs in the years to come.
-end-
ARTICLE: RW Eisinger, E Erbelding and AS Fauci. Refocusing research on sexually transmitted infections. The Journal of Infectious Diseases DOI: 10.1093/infdis/jiz442 (2019).

WHO: NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., is available for comment.

CONTACT: To schedule interviews, please contact Elizabeth Deatrick, (301) 402-1663, elizabeth.deatrick@niaid.nih.gov.

NIAID conducts and supports research--at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide--to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID website.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov/.

NIH...Turning Discovery Into Health®

NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Related Infectious Diseases Articles from Brightsurf:

Understanding the spread of infectious diseases
Physicists at M√ľnster University (Germany) have shown in model simulations that the COVID-19 infection rates decrease significantly through social distancing.

Forecasting elections with a model of infectious diseases
Election forecasting is an innately challenging endeavor, with results that can be difficult to interpret and may leave many questions unanswered after close races unfold.

COVID-19 a reminder of the challenge of emerging infectious diseases
The emergence and rapid increase in cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus, pose complex challenges to the global public health, research and medical communities, write federal scientists from NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Certain antidepressants could provide treatment for multiple infectious diseases
Some antidepressants could potentially be used to treat a wide range of diseases caused by bacteria living within cells, according to work by researchers in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine and collaborators at other institutions.

Opioid epidemic is increasing rates of some infectious diseases
The US faces a public health crisis as the opioid epidemic fuels growing rates of certain infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, heart infections, and skin and soft tissue infections.

Infectious diseases could be diagnosed with smartphones in sub-Saharan Africa
A new Imperial-led review has outlined how health workers could use existing phones to predict and curb the spread of infectious diseases.

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Experts warn of a surge in vector-borne diseases as humanitarian crisis in Venezuela worsens
The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is accelerating the re-emergence of vector-borne diseases such as malaria, Chagas disease, dengue, and Zika virus, and threatens to jeopardize public health gains in the country over the past two decades, warn leading public health experts.

Glow-in-the-dark paper as a rapid test for infectious diseases
Researchers from Eindhoven University of Technology (The Netherlands) and Keio University (Japan) present a practicable and reliable way to test for infectious diseases.

Math shows how human behavior spreads infectious diseases
Mathematics can help public health workers better understand and influence human behaviors that lead to the spread of infectious disease, according to a study from the University of Waterloo.

Many Americans say infectious and emerging diseases in other countries will threaten the US
An overwhelming majority of Americans (95%) think infectious and emerging diseases facing other countries will pose a 'major' or 'minor' threat to the U.S. in the next few years, but more than half (61%) say they are confident the federal government can prevent a major infectious disease outbreak in the US, according to a new national public opinion survey commissioned by Research!America and the American Society for Microbiology.

Read More: Infectious Diseases News and Infectious Diseases Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.