Genital infection with Chlamydia trachomatis, a gram-negative obligate intracellular bacterium, is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection globally. Ascension of chlamydial infection to the female upper genital tract can cause acute pelvic inflammatory disease, tubal factor infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain. Shortcomings of current chlamydia control strategies, especially for low- and middle-income countries, highlight the need for an effective vaccine. Evidence from animal models, human epidemiological studies, and early trachoma vaccine trials suggest that a C. trachomatis vaccine is feasible. Vaccine development for genital chlamydial infection has been in the preclinical phase of testing for many years, but the first Phase I trials of chlamydial vaccine candidates are underway, and scientific advances hold promise for additional candidates to enter clinical evaluation in the coming years. We describe the clinical and public health need for a C. trachomatis vaccine, provide an overview of Chlamydia vaccine development efforts, and summarize current vaccine candidates in the development pipeline.
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