Lyme disease is a significant public health concern, and researchers are investigating the development of a vaccine to prevent Lyme disease in humans.
Lyme disease is a bacterial illness caused by being bitten by an infected tick. The bacterium associated with Lyme disease is Borrelia burgdorferi. If a person is infected with Lyme disease but is diagnosed early, they can be treated. However, if a person isn’t diagnosed and treated on time, the infection can spread to the heart, joints, and nervous system, causing serious long-term damage.
As of right now, there is no preventative vaccination for Lyme disease in humans, however, there is one for dogs.
In a study published by Clinical Infectious Diseases, researchers look at the history and future of Lyme disease vaccinations. In the 1990s, two vaccines were introduced and they were shown to reduce the risk of Lyme disease in humans. That vaccine was soon discontinued (for human use) and a similar vaccine was recently observed in a clinical trial.
Researchers are looking into a variety of vaccines: outer surface protein C and other B. burgdorferi proteins, lipid immunogens, live mutant vaccines, and transmission-blocking vaccines. When examining potential hybrid vaccines, researchers are considering cost, as well as risk-to-benefit ratios.
The article highlights that persons living in the Northeast and Upper Midwest areas of the United States are more likely to be at risk of Lyme disease than persons living in Southern areas. Another option being looked into is to reduce the number of infected ticks in particular environments. New technology is allowing scientists and researchers to further look into an effective, new vaccine for Lyme disease.
Written by Laura Laroche, HBASc, Medical Writer
Gomes-Solecki M, Arnaboldi PM, Backenson PB, et al. Protective immunity and new vaccines for Lyme disease. Academic OUP. Published October 17, 2019. Accessed October 17, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciz872