In spite of the efforts to #eradicatesyphilis, the infection is on the rise. Until now, most of the strategies of managing syphilis have focused on treating infected individuals and their partners, but now a syphilis vaccine might be possible.

The disease poses serious health consequences and is the second most prominent cause of #miscarriage and #stillbirth, worldwide. If left untreated, syphilis can cause #dementia, #strokes, and other #neurologicaldisease. Syphilis is a great imitator; it might even manifest as #hyperpigmentation, or any other condition.

The syphilis bacteria are hard to study because, they cannot be grown in a petridish or in mice. Apart from humans, only rabbits are susceptible to syphilis. However, since rabbits rapidly clear the infections, newer rabbits must be regularly infected in order to maintain the syphilis-causing bacteria. Furthermore, the #syphilisbacteria are extremely fragile; any sort of rough treatment makes them undergo lysis, making it difficult to identify the proteins displayed in the surface of the bacteria.

When genetic analyses became available, researchers analyzed the 1,000 gene long genome of the syphilis bacterium and used #computermodeling to model proteins that had the characteristic barrel shape of #bacterialoutermembraneproteins. Of these, researchers selected genes that were subject to the least mutations.

Researchers now plan to use the proteins synthesized by these genes to immunize rabbits to verify if they can be used for #vaccination purpose.

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