Advancing vaccine development for gonorrhoea and the Global STI Vaccine Roadmap

Sex Health. 2019 Sep;16(5):426-432. doi: 10.1071/SH19060.


Efforts to develop vaccines against Neisseria gonorrhoeae have become increasingly important, given the rising threat of gonococcal antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Recent data suggest vaccines for gonorrhoea are biologically feasible; in particular, epidemiological evidence shows that vaccines against a closely related pathogen, serogroup B Neisseria meningitidis outer membrane vesicle (OMV) vaccines, may reduce gonorrhoea incidence. Vaccine candidates using several approaches are currently in preclinical development, including meningococcal and gonococcal OMV vaccines, a lipooligosaccharide epitope and purified protein subunit vaccines. The Global STI Vaccine Roadmap provides action steps to build on this technical momentum and advance gonococcal vaccine development. Better quantifying the magnitude of gonorrhoea-associated disease burden, for outcomes like infertility, and modelling the predicted role of gonococcal vaccines in addressing AMR will be essential for building a full public health value proposition, which can justify investment and help with decision making about future vaccine policy and programs. Efforts are underway to gain consensus on gonorrhoea vaccine target populations, implementation strategies and other preferred product characteristics that would make these vaccines suitable for use in low- and middle-income, as well as high-income, contexts. Addressing these epidemiological, programmatic and policy considerations in parallel to advancing research and development, including direct assessment of the ability of meningococcal B OMV vaccines to prevent gonorrhoea, can help bring about the development of viable gonococcal vaccines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Vaccines / immunology
  • Bacterial Vaccines / therapeutic use*
  • Biomedical Research
  • Gonorrhea / immunology
  • Gonorrhea / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / immunology*


  • Bacterial Vaccines