The predominant strain in Europe of gonococcus is resistant to one of the common drug treatments

A study involving the participation of Fisabio (Foundation for Health Promotion and Biomedical Research in the Valencia Region), based on the Conselleria de Sanitat Universal i Salut Pública, found that the predominant strain in Europe of gonococcus – the bacteria that causes gonorrhea – is resistant to one of the two drugs, among other drugs, the most It is used today to treat this disease.

bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeaeGonorrhea, commonly known as gonococcus, is the cause of gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease estimated to infect 82 million people worldwide each year. In this context, it is essential to monitor their strains to determine the most effective treatments with scientific evidence.

“Compared with two previous surveillance programmes, the results of this genetic surveillance study show the expansion of a strain across Europe that is resistant to azithromycin, which compromises the most common treatment for this infection,” explains Leonor Sánchez-Poso, a Fisabio and Plan GenT researcher from the Conselleria de Sanitat Universal i Salut Pública. .

This study is an international collaboration resulting from the Resistance Surveillance Program under the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (Euro-GASP) European Antimicrobial Surveillance Program (Euro-GASP) in which the Pathogen Genome Surveillance Center (University of Oxford, UK), the Protection Agency for Health UK (London, UK) and the WHO Collaborating Center at Orebro University Hospital (Sweden).

The methodology consists of genetic sequencing and analysis of 2375 gonococcal isolates collected in 2018 in 26 countries in the European Economic Area. With this material, the links between different genomic strains, antimicrobial resistance and epidemiological information were analyzed.

This strain has in its genome a mosaic in the mtrCDE efflux pump that causes resistance to azithromycin, and is significantly associated with oropharyngeal infections in high-risk groups. Fortunately, this collection of 2018 does not show mutations that could harm the treatment of this infection with potential new antibiotics, such as zoliflodacin or gepotidacin.”

Leonor Sanchez Bosso, lead author of the article

The study was published in the prestigious scientific journal Lancet microbe It will be of great interest to study the introduction and dynamics of antibiotic-resistant strains in Europe as well as in the Valencian community. One of the researcher’s lines of work is the resistance in the Valencian community, for which she collaborates with the hospitals of the Public Health Network in Valencia.

Specifically, thirteen hospitals in the community have collaborated or will soon collaborate to provide samples for gonorrhea surveillance missions. In the province of Valencia, La Ribera University Hospital, Polytechnic University Hospital La Fe, General Hospital of Valencia, Hospital Comarcal Francis de Borja, Hospital Clinico Universitario of Valencia, Hospital Arnao de Vilanova, Hospital Doctor of Peset University, Hospital Lluís Alcanyís in Xàtiva and Hospital de Manises.

In the rest of the region, the University Hospital of Sant Joan in Alicante, the University Hospital of La Plana, the General University Hospital of Castellón and the Hospital Comarcal in Vinares are or will contribute to the research. In addition, work continues on the integration of new centers that allow better coverage of the entire territory of the Valencian Community.

Prevent sexually transmitted diseases

In addition, the Ministry of Health is doing important work to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea.

In fact, in the public health system of Valencia there is a network of sexual and reproductive health centers distributed among the various health departments consisting of 80 care centers, located in health centers and hospital facilities.

At the health care level, in 2021 these centers provided a total of 390,305 consultations. The work they do focuses on providing information and providing contraceptives, counseling and attention to infertility, control and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, prenatal and genetic counseling, voluntary interruption of pregnancy, or early detection of diseases of the reproductive organs and breasts, among others.

financing programs

The project is funded by Conselleria de Sanitat Universal i Salut Pública through grants from Plan GenT (a program to support talented researchers) to recruit doctoral research staff with international experience to join healthcare research centers and national health system centers in the Valencian region: file number Annex I. CDEI-06/20-b.

In addition, it also has funding from the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities in its 2020 call for grants for “research, development and innovation projects”, under the Spanish programs for knowledge generation and scientific and technological promotion of the R + D + I system oriented to the challenges of society, within the Spanish Plan for Research Scientific and Technical Innovation 2017-2020, with file number PID2020-120113RA-I00/AEI/10.13039/501100011033.