Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease, caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. It can also cause severe eye infections (trachoma) and reactive arthritis. In women symptoms can include abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding, fever and painful urination. In men symptoms include a burning sensation when urinating, unusual discharge from the penis and fever.
It is thought that 1 million people are infected with Chlamydia in the United States. Chlamydia is sometimes called the silent epidemic, because 75% of infected women will show no symptoms. In the US, Chlamydia is responsible for 250 000 cases of epididymitis (inflammation of the testicles) and 500 000 cases of pelvic inflammatory disease. Chlamydia infection also increases the risk of abortion in pregnancy.
Chlamydial infection can be effectively treated by antibiotics, once it is detected. However, in many cases this is only after significant symptoms have presented themselves, as evidenced by the large number of cases diagnosed each year. There is currently no vaccine available for Chlamydia trachomatis.
BigDNA is currently developing a vaccine for Chlamydia infection in pigs, in collaboration with the China Agricultural University in Beijing. Initial results with this vaccine have been very promising and further trials are currently underway. As part of the company’s development pipeline, a human chlamydial vaccine will also be developed.