Dr Sami Gottlieb, Medical Officer
World Health Organisation (Switzerland)
Dr Birgitte Giersing, WHO (Switzerland)
Professor Philippe Mayaud, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (UK)Dr Sinead Delany-Moretlwe, University of Witwatersrand (South Africa)
Dr Ranmini Kularatne, National Institute for Communicable Diseases (South Africa)
Professor Gita Ramjee, HIV Prevention Research Unit (South Africa)
Dr Pachara Sirivongrangson, Ministry of Public Health (Thailand)
Gonorrhoea, a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae, is a major public health concern, with adverse consequences including pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Development of a vaccine for gonorrhoea has become a global public health priority, because the organism has developed resistance to currently available antibiotics. Recent scientific developments suggest a vaccine is biologically feasible, which has reinvigorated the field. However, several barriers remain. For example, there is a lack of consensus on the best approach to develop the vaccine (how it should work), the most effective use case (who should be immunized), what the vaccine should achieve (safety and efficacy requirements), and how it should be implemented within current immunization programmes, to have the greatest public health benefit. It will be especially important to understand these factors from the perspectives of low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where the need for the vaccine may be greatest. We propose a global stakeholder consultation meeting to bring together experts in gonorrhoea basic science, epidemiology, public health control programs, and policy, particularly from LMICs, along with experts in vaccine development and industry partners.
The objectives of the meeting are to define where and for whom gonorrhoea vaccines are needed, discuss the characteristics a gonorrhoea vaccine should have to address the public health need, especially for LMICs, assess the status of current gonorrhoea vaccine development approaches, and determine how the vaccine would be delivered if available. Crucially, the meeting will identify critical research and data needs to advance gonorrhoea vaccine development. The consultation will result in one or more published scientific articles summarizing discussions from the meeting that provide guiding principles and preferences for gonorrhoea vaccines to meet priority public health needs, as well as gaps that need to be addressed to advance these vaccines.