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New vaccine to prevent ‘embarrassing’ UTIs offers hope to millions

A REVOLUNTIONARY new jab which could prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) has been created by scientists.

The new vaccine, which comes in the form of the tablet, could reduce the need to treat these common but dangerous infections with antibiotics.

Most UTIs are caused by E. coli bacteria entering the urethra and moving up into the bladder

According to NHS England, over half of all women will experience a UTI at some point in their lives, with around 10 per cent of those suffering with the infection frequently.

Anyone can get a UTI, but they’re particularly common in women, and especially common after sex.

The uncomfortable condition, which can affect affect any part of the urinary system, leaves people with a pain or a burning sensation when peeing.

Mild UTIs can sometimes clear up without the need for treatment, but in many cases antibiotics are needed to clear up in infection top avoid more serious conditions.

However, long-term antibiotic use can lead to bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics and disrupt healthy gut bacteria, leading to gastrointestinal issues, like IBS.

Writing in the journal Science Advances, experts said the new treatment would only need to be taken once – unlike antibiotics which need to be taken every time an infection occurs.

The tablet, which is placed under the tongue, trains the immune system to recognise and fight UTI-causing bacteria automatically.

So far, the treatment has been found to  well as high-dose antibiotics for preventing UTIs in mice and rabbits.

Meanwhile a new experimental antibiotic has been created which, if approved, will be be the first new pill to treat uncomplicated UTIs in 20 years.

The drug, called gepotidacin, could be ready for use by 2024, pharma giant GSCK has said.

The team hopes these promising results will pave the way for human clinical trials.

What causes UTIs?

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are usually caused by E.coli bacteria – found in poo – entering the urinary tract.

The bacteria enter the through the tube that carries pee out of the body (urethra).

Women are more likely than men to pick up UTIs as they have a shorter urethra than men.

This means bacteria are more likely to reach the bladder or kidneys and cause an infection.

According to the NHS, things that increase the risk of bacteria getting into the bladder include:

  • having sex
  • pregnancy
  • conditions that block the urinary tract – such as  kidney stones
  • conditions that make it difficult to fully empty the bladder – such as an  enlarged prostate in men and constipation in children
  • urinary catheters (a tube in your bladder used to drain urine)
  • having a weakened immune system – for example, people with diabetes or people having chemotherapy
  • not drinking enough fluids
  • not keeping the genital area clean and dry

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