Oral UTI Vaccine Prevents Infections for up to 9 Years

Researchers say the pineapple-flavored vaccine spray could be an effective alternative to antibiotic treatments for recurrent urinary tract infections.

More than 50% of women and one in five men experience at least one urinary tract infection (UTI) in their lifetime. In nearly a third of these cases, the infection reoccurs.

Recurrent UTIs can significantly impact quality of life and often require repeated treatment with antibiotics. Frequent use of these medications can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections that are challenging to treat. That's why developing new UTI prevention strategies is critical.

In a 2017 study, researchers tested a new bacterial vaccine called MV140, or Uromune, on participants with recurrent UTIs and found it to be safe and effective at preventing infections.

Uromune is a pineapple-flavored solution containing inactivated versions of Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecalis, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Proteus vulgaris bacteria — the most common causes of UTIs. It is sprayed under the tongue every day for three months.

Despite the promising study results, the scientists only followed the participants for 12 months, so the vaccine's long-term safety and effectiveness were unknown.

To determine the long-term outcome of the Uromune study, researchers from the Royal Berkshire Hospital in the United Kingdom analyzed 9 years of data and self-reported outcomes from the 72 female and 17 male trial participants.

The follow-up results, presented at the 39th Annual Congress of the European Association of Urology (EAU24), showed that around 50% of participants remained infection-free during the 9-year time span.

Moreover, female participants remained infection-free for an average of 56.7 months, and males remained UTI-free for around 44.3 months. Around 40% of the participants received another dose of the vaccine one or two years after the trial.

What's more, the participants reported no significant side effects.

The study's authors say they expect to publish the full results of the follow-up by the end of this year.

In an EAU press release, co-author Dr. Bob Yang, a Consultant Urologist at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, said, "This is a very easy vaccine to administer and could be given by GPs as a 3-month course. Many of our participants told us that having the vaccine restored their quality of life. While we're yet to look at the effect of this vaccine in different patient groups, this follow-up data suggests it could be a game changer for UTI prevention if it's offered widely, reducing the need for antibiotic treatments."

While the Uromune vaccine is accessible in 26 countries through expanded access programs, it is not currently available in the United States.

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