Is vaccination against Lyme disease soon a reality?
With every outdoor season come the worries about tick bites and tick bite related diseases. Online search relating to Lyme disease (or Borreliosis), peak sawtoothlike every year in June/July.
This infectious disease was recently in the limelight when a famous Pop Star contracted it and started to raise awareness. The other reason Lyme keeps cropping up in the news is the steady rise of infected ticks both in the US and Europe.
Lyme’s is a multisystem disease caused by a bacterium called Borrelia Burgdorferi that is transmitted by tick bites.
Scientists at University of Massachusetts have discovered an antibody that specifically targets Borrelia and has been very successful in mice; in their own words, “it is 100 percent effective.”
This antibody is not actually a vaccine, where the human body is triggered to develop immunity against a pathogen, it is a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a lab-produced immunoglobulin that will be injected into the bloodstream and with a limited time of effectiveness.
Iv Immunoglobulins as PrEP
Immunoglobulins provide very effective treatment but notoriously expensive to produce, to use it as a prophylactic agent is novel, and it needs to be seen how long its effectiveness in the human immune system lasts. For 200 bucks a pop, this might be an option for the middle-class hiker, roaming more freely through nature. However, I doubt this will reduce the cases of Lyme disease significantly or herald the eradication of Borreliosis.
I can see it though as a first line – within 24 h of tick bite – treatment/prevention in the future.