Sexually transmitted infections (STI) have hit an all-time high in the U.S. and Canada.
North Americans are consistently being infected with ailments such as gonorrhea and syphilis.
Dr. Gail Bolan, head of the Centre for Disease Control’s Division of STD Prevention, told NBC News, “Usually there are ebbs and flows, but this sustained increase is very concerning.”
Chlamydia, one of the most prevalent STIs to date, can infect both men and women. If untreated, chlamydia can evolve into increasingly serious issues such as pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility.
Researchers from the University of Waterloo (UW) are developing a treatment for chlamydia that involves gene therapy.
Gene therapy is an experimental technique that uses genes to treat or prevent disease.
In the future, medical practitioners may be able to treat diseases by replacing our inactivating mutated genes instead of using drugs or surgery.
“As antibiotic resistance continues to develop, people may experience chlamydia infections that cannot be treated through conventional means, which is causing increasing public health challenges,” Emmanuel Ho, a professor at UW’s School of Pharmacy said. “We’re able to stop the creation of the protein that chlamydia will use to enter genital tract skin cells. As a result, an incoming infection has fewer targets to latch onto and infection is less likely to occur.”
The treatment works by binding small interfering ribonucleic acid to the genes targeted by viral chlamydia and preventing the spread of the infection at the root.
The new treatment, delivered via nanotechnology, has shown a staggering 65 per cent success rate in preventing chlamydia infection from a single dose and may revolutionize the way doctors treat viral infections.