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Advancing vaccine development for gonorrhoea and the Global STI Vaccine Roadmap

Dr Sami Gottlieb
Dr Sami Gottlieb, World Health Organization

Efforts to develop vaccines against Neisseria gonorrhoeae have become increasingly important, given the rising threat of gonococcal antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Recent data suggest vaccines for gonorrhoea are biologically feasible, and vaccine candidates using several approaches are currently in development. The Global sexually transmitted infections (STIs) Vaccine Roadmap provides action steps to build on this technical momentum and advance gonococcal vaccine development. Better quantification of the magnitude of gonorrhoea-associated disease burden and modelling the predicted role of gonococcal vaccines in addressing AMR will be essential for building a full public health value assessment to justify the investment and inform decision making about future vaccine policy and programs. 

Efforts are underway to gain consensus on gonococcal vaccine target populations, implementation strategies and other preferred product characteristics that would make these vaccines suitable for use in low- and middle-income, as well as high-income, contexts. Addressing epidemiological, programmatic and policy considerations in parallel to advancing research and development, can help bring about the development, and implementation, of viable gonococcal vaccines. 


Dr Sami Gottlieb is a medical doctor and epidemiologist in the Department of Reproductive Health and Research at the World Health Organization (WHO), where she works on multiple aspects of the global epidemiology and control of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). She currently leads efforts to implement the Global Roadmap to Advance STI Vaccine Development, which focuses on the critical next steps to advance vaccine development for STIs such as herpes simplex virus (HSV), Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and Chlamydia trachomatis.  

Before her position at the WHO, Dr Gottlieb worked at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, first as an Epidemic Intelligence Servic Fe Officer and then as a Medical Epidemiologist in the Division of STD Prevention, where she focused on the role of bacterial STIs in causing pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility. Further to this, Sami also worked on the implementation of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in the US. Sami received her undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences with distinction and highest honours from Stanford University and her MD degree from the University of California, San Francisco, where she was also on the Internal Medicine faculty.

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