Low birth weight in Papua New Guinea is a killer. Help us research what is causing low birth weight in PNG so that we can stop it.
Gonorrhea, one of the most common sexually transmitted infections worldwide, can lead to serious sequelae, including infertility and increased HIV transmission. Recently, untreatable, multidrug-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae strains have been reported. In the absence of new antibiotics, and given the speed with which resistance has emerged to all previously used antibiotics, development of a vaccine would be the ideal solution to this public health emergency. Understanding the desired characteristics, target population, and expected impact of an anti-gonococcal vaccine is essential to facilitate vaccine design, assessment and implementation. The modeling presented herein aims to fill these conceptual gaps, and inform future gonococcal vaccine development. Using an individual-based, epidemiological simulation model, gonococcal prevalence was simulated in a heterosexual population of 100,000 individuals after the introduction of vaccines with varied efficacy (10-100%) and duration of protection (2.5-20 years). Model simulations predict that gonococcal prevalence could be reduced by at least 90% after 20 years, if all 13-year-olds were given a non-waning vaccine with 50% efficacy, or a vaccine with 100% efficacy that wanes after 7.5 years. A 40% reduction in prevalence is achievable with a non-waning vaccine of only 20% efficacy. We conclude that a vaccine of moderate efficacy and duration could have a substantive impact on gonococcal prevalence, and disease sequelae, if coverage is high and protection lasts over the highest risk period (i.e., most sexual partner change) among young people.