Breakthrough for millions as ‘game changing’ UTI vaccine could stop infection for nine years

By Staff 6 Min Read

Each year UTI infection leads to 150,000 hospitalisations, costing the NHS £380 million annually – during the study the average infection-free period was four and a half years)

A new trial has concluded that reoccurring urinary tract infections (UTIs) can be prevented for up to nine years with a vaccine.

In a long-running trial, 89 patients were asked to spray the pineapple-flavoured vaccine under their tongue every day for three months. They were then followed up for nine years by clinicians at the UK’s Royal Berkshire Hospital. Each year UTI infection leads to 150,000 hospitalisations, costing the NHS £380 million annually. Around half of women and 20 per cent of men suffer UTIs, which can be particularly dangerous for older people, Yahoo reports.

The death rate for hospital UTIs is four in 100 which accounts for around 6,000 deaths each year. The research further concluded that nearly half (48 per cent) of the participants remained infection-free in the nine-year follow-up. Across the cohort, the average infection-free period was 54.7 months (four and a half years) – 56.7 months for women and 44.3 months, one year less, for just under half of the participants had second doses of the vaccine after one or two years.

Dr Bob Yang, consultant urologist at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, who co-led the research, said before the vaccines the participants suffered recurrent UTIs. He said: “Overall, this vaccine is safe in the long term and our participants reported having fewer UTIs and less severe UTIs.

“Many of those who did get a UTI told us that simply drinking plenty of water was enough to treat it. Many of our participants told us that having the vaccine restored their quality of life.”

Currently UTIs are treated with antibiotics, but with antibiotic-resistant infections now on the rise they are becoming less effective. The vaccine, known as Uromune, was developed by Spain-based pharmaceutical company Immunotek, and contains whole bacteria of the four most common bugs that cause UTIs in men and women – Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Proteus vulgaris and Enterococcus Faecalis.

The vaccine is licenced in Spain but experts hope it will soon be passed for use on the NHS. Mary Garthwaite, chair of the Urology Foundation and a former consultant urological surgeon at James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, said: “The ability to potentially gain cure or long-term remission, with a non-antibiotic therapy, is a game changer.”

She said the vaccine offers hope to all those impacted by UTI’s – including the improvement of mental and physical health and the ability to participate in everyday activities.

If the vaccine is approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency MHRA it would also need to be approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence for cost effectiveness. The NHS calculates that Uromune would cost about £326 per course, compared to about £50 for antibiotics.

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