Oral UTI vaccine prevents infection for up to nine years

Friday, 12 April, 2024

Oral UTI vaccine prevents infection for up to nine years

An oral spray-based vaccine could help prevent recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) for up to nine years, offering a potential alternative to antibiotic treatments. That’s according to initial results from the first long-term follow-up study of the safety and effectiveness of the MV140 vaccine for recurrent UTIs, presented at the European Association of Urology (EAU) Congress in early April.

UTIs are the most common bacterial infection, experienced by half of all women and one in five men. Recurrent infections, needing short-term antibiotic treatment, develop in between 20% and 30% of cases — and with antibiotic-resistant UTIs now on the rise, new ways of preventing and treating these infections are needed.

MV140 is a new vaccine for recurrent UTIs, developed by pharmaceutical company Immunotek, which is administered with two sprays of a pineapple-flavoured suspension under the tongue every day for three months. Clinicians at the UK’s Royal Berkshire Hospital studied the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine for recurrent UTIs in 89 patients, originally treated at The Urology Partnership Reading. While researchers have previously studied MV140’s short-term safety and effectiveness, this is the first long-term follow-up study to report globally.

In their original trial, patients were initially followed up for 12 months. For their nine-year follow-up study, the researchers analysed data from the electronic health records of their original cohort. They also interviewed participants about their experience of UTIs since receiving the vaccine and asked them about side effects. 48 participants reported that they remained entirely infection-free over the nine-year follow-up, while the average infection-free period was 54.7 months (four-and-a-half years) — 56.7 months for women and 44.3 months for men. 40% of participants reported having repeat doses of the vaccine after one or two years.

“Before having the vaccine, all our participants suffered from recurrent UTIs, and for many women, these can be difficult to treat. Nine years after first receiving this new UTI vaccine, around half of the participants remained infection-free,” said research co-leader Dr Bob Yang, Consultant Urologist at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust.

“Overall, this vaccine is safe in the long term and our participants reported having fewer UTIs that were less severe. Many of those who did get a UTI told us that simply drinking plenty of water was enough to treat it.

“This is a very easy vaccine to administer and could be given by GPs as a three-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.”

Professor Gernot Bonkat, Chairman of the EAU Guidelines on Urological Infections, said the findings are promising — particularly given the economic burden caused by recurrent UTIs and the risk of antibiotic-resistant infections developing.

“Further research into more complex UTIs is needed, as well as research looking at different groups of patients, so we can better optimise how to use this vaccine,” Bonkat noted.

“While we need to be pragmatic, this vaccine is a potential breakthrough in preventing UTIs and could offer a safe and effective alternative to conventional treatments.”

Image credit: iStock.com/PrettyVectors

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