The frontiers of addressing antibiotic resistance in Neisseria gonorrhoeae

Transl Res. 2020 Jun;220:122-137. doi: 10.1016/j.trsl.2020.02.002. Epub 2020 Feb 29.


The sexually transmitted infection gonorrhea, caused by the Gram-negative bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae, can cause urethritis, cervicitis, and systemic disease, among other manifestations. N. gonorrhoeae has rapidly rising incidence along with increasing levels of antibiotic resistance to a broad range of drugs including first-line treatments. The rise in resistance has led to fears of untreatable gonorrhea causing substantial disease globally. In this review, we will describe multiple approaches being undertaken to slow and control this spread of resistance. First, a number of old drugs have been repurposed and new drugs are being developed with activity against Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Second, vaccine development, long an important goal, is advancing. Third, new diagnostics promise rapid detection of antibiotic resistance and a shift from empiric to tailored treatment. The deployment of these new tools for addressing the challenge of antibiotic resistance will require careful consideration to provide optimal care for all patients while extending the lifespan of treatment regimens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Vaccines / immunology
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Gonorrhea / complications
  • Gonorrhea / diagnosis
  • Gonorrhea / drug therapy
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / drug effects*
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / immunology


  • Bacterial Vaccines