Spray Vaccine for UTI’s
It sounds like a futuristic treatment: a spritz or two in each nostril is all you need to never have another bladder infection ever again. Just such a vaccine, believe it or not, is being developed at the University of Michigan.
Urinary tract infections (UTI’s) are a very painful and common condition. But if the first trials on this preventative measure are successful, we may just have the first vaccine ever created to prevent such infections. This would be good timing for such a development since more and more, doctors are seeing infections in their patients that are proving resistant to antibiotic treatment.
In a urinary tract infection, bacteria invade the bladder, kidneys, and urinary tract. Some women find they can’t go two weeks without the infection coming back after a round of treatment. More than half of all women—53%—and 14% of men will have a UTI at least one time. This translates to 1.3 million ER visits plus 250,000 hospitalizations every year. The only treatment available is antibiotic therapy.
But University of Michigan researcher Harry Mobley, Ph.D. says, “We’re beginning to see increasing resistance to these antibiotics and that’s of particular concern.”
Mobley and his colleagues are hard at work on creating a vaccine to combat these infections which cost the U.S. 2.5 billion dollars every year. “A spray up the nose, a couple doses of this, would protect the bladder.”
For millions of Americans, this is a claim to marvel over.
Mobley’s team performed mouse studies for five years and discovered 3 antigens that serve to protect mice against infection-causing bacteria. Now researchers need to explore whether the vaccine will work in humans. Mobley says that Americans are still 3-5 years from having the vaccine hit the market.
Women are at a much higher risk for contracting urinary tract infections than are men. In some cases, the symptoms are so severe that they may interfere with daily functioning. UTI’s lead to missed work days and 6.8 million visits to doctors every year.
UTI’s are the result of what happens when germs enter your system through the urethra. There are factors that predispose one to urinary tract infections including sexual activity, dehydration, diabetes, and pregnancy. But the Mayo Clinic states that after menopause, a woman’s risk for UTI’s may rocket since the loss of estrogen causes a thinning of the tissues that surround the urethra.