Researchers at the University of Padua say a vaccine they've developed specifically for the bacterium has already proven effective in animals and will go into clinical trials later this year.
The experimental vaccine, produced by Chiron Vaccines of Siena, Italy, works by targeting the point at which the bacterium injects VacA into a cell it has invaded.
It could mean major relief for developing countries where the situation is pressing, says Dr. David Graham of the V.A. Medical Center in Houston.
"Antibiotics are useful in countries where the frequency and reinfection rates are low. But if you go to a developing countries, you'll find some serious problems. All developing countries are better served by a vaccine than antibiotics," he explains.