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UTSA, Health Science Center collaborate with Merck & Co. to develop chlamydia vaccine
Date:4/27/2009

the ages 14 to 39, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. A highly infectious and insidious organism, C. trachomatis frequently causes only mild or moderate symptoms in infected individuals, especially females, and those infected often do not receive diagnosis or effective treatment, because they are not aware they have the infection.

Long-term C. trachomatis infection in females can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, serious complications for newborn infants and infertility. Macrolide (erythromycin-like) antibiotics can successfully eradicate the pathogen in most patients, but treated individuals are highly susceptible to re-infection if exposed via unprotected sex with an infected partner. Consequently, chlamydia remains present and stable in a high percentage of sexually active individuals.

The trio of UT researchers involved in this collaboration include Guangming Zhong, M.D., Ph.D., professor of microbiology and immunology from the Health Science Center, Bernard Arulanandam, Ph.D., M.B.A., professor of microbiology and immunology in UTSA's STCEID and Department of Biology, and Ashlesh Murthy, Ph.D., a research assistant professor in UTSA's STCEID and Department of Biology. Zhong has conducted research for more than 20 years in chlamydia pathogenesis and vaccine development, while Arulanandam has researched vaccine development and mucosal immunity for more than 12 years.

Both Zhong's and Arulanandam's laboratories are working hard with the Merck group to identify the most efficacious vaccine antigens for inducing anti-chlamydial immunity. They are also planning to apply their vaccine research expertise and capabilities to other diseases by collaborating with other UT faculty members.

"Through many years of research in chlamydial biology, pathogenesis and immunology, we have accumulated sufficient ex
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Contact: Christi Fish
christi.fish@utsa.edu
830-538-9013
University of Texas at San Antonio
Source:Eurekalert

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