New drugs to delay the spread of gonorrhoea are urgently needed as a new strain of the STD has become resistant to antibiotics, scientists in Sweden have found.
The bacterial infection has, until now, been easily treatable with antibiotics, but researchers from the Swedish Reference Laboratory warned that the new strain, H041, is very effective at mutating.
Scientists have warned that the strain, first found in Japan, could become a global threat to public health.
Researchers at the Swedish lab identified the genetic mutations responsible for the new strain’s extreme resistance to all cephalosporin-class antibiotics.
Dr Magnus Unemo, from the Swedish Research Laboratory for Pathogenic Neisseria said, “Since antibiotics became the standard treatment for gonorrhoea in the 1940s, this bacterium has shown a remarkable capacity to develop resistance mechanisms to all drugs introduced to control it.
“While it is still too early to assess if this new strain has become widespread, the history of newly emergent resistance in the bacterium suggests that it may spread rapidly unless new drugs and effective treatment programmes are developed.”
The team of researchers will present its findings at a conference run by the International Society for Sexually Transmitted Disease Research in Canada.