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Vaccine-by-Mouth Could Replace Antibiotics in Fighting UTIs
  • Posted April 8, 2024

Vaccine-by-Mouth Could Replace Antibiotics in Fighting UTIs

A new oral vaccine could prove a potential alternative to antibiotics for people with recurring urinary tract infections, a new study says.

More than half of patients with recurring UTIs (54%) wound up infection-free for nine years after receiving the oral spray vaccine, with no notable side effects, researchers report.

"Before having the vaccine, all our participants suffered from recurrent UTIs, and for many women, these can be difficult to treat,"co-lead researcher Bob Yang, a consulting urologist at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust in the U.K., said in a news release.

"Nine years after first receiving this new UTI vaccine, around half of the participants remained infection-free," Yang continued. "Overall, this vaccine is safe in the long term and our participants reported having fewer UTIs that were less severe. Many of those who did get a UTI told us that simply drinking plenty of water was enough to treat it."

Developed by the Spanish pharmaceutical company Immunotek, the MV140 vaccine contains four bacterial species in a pineapple-flavored suspension of water, researchers said. These bacteria prompt the body to produce infection-fighting antibodies.

The vaccine is administered with two spritzes under the tongue every day for three months.

UTIs are the most common bacterial infection, experienced by half of all women and 1 in 5 men. Recurring infections requiring antibiotics develop in 20% to 30% of cases.

The new trial involved 72 women and 17 men being treated at Royal Berkshire Hospital in the UK for urinary tract infections. These patients had all taken part in an original clinical trial for MV140 and had been followed up for a year.

For this nine-year follow-up study, researchers analyzed the health records of the 89 participants and interviewed them.

Of this group, 48 participants remained entirely infection-free during the entire nine-year follow-up, researchers found.

The average infection-free period across the entire group was four and a half years for women and three and a half years for men, results show.

About 40% of participants reported having repeat doses of the vaccine after one or two years.

"These findings are promising. Recurrent UTIs are a substantial economic burden and the overuse of antibiotic treatments can lead to antibiotic-resistant infections,"Dr. Gernot Bonkat, a professor at the Alta Uro Medical Centre for Urology in Switzerland, said in a news release.

"Further research into more complex UTIs is needed, as well as research looking at different groups of patients, so we can better optimize how to use this vaccine,"added Bonkat, who was not involved in the research. "While we need to be pragmatic, this vaccine is a potential breakthrough in preventing UTIs and could offer a safe and effective alternative to conventional treatments."

Researchers presented these findings Sunday at a meeting of the European Association of Urology in Paris. Results presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The Mayo Clinic has more about urinary tract infections.

SOURCE: European Association of Urology, news release, April 7, 2024

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