Lymerix Is Dead But Lyme Prep Is Giving Researchers Hope
The quest to prevent Lyme disease isn’t over. A team of researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s MassBiologics is working on a pre-exposure prophylaxis Lyme disease shot.
The formula is a yearly injection, likely taken at the start of tick season, which would deliver anti-Lyme antibodies to the recipient. It’s different from a vaccine, which triggers the patient’s immune system to make antibodies itself.
Lyme PrEP showed success in studies of mice and primates, and researchers received FDA approval in February to start human trials. If the results are promising, researchers will proceed to larger trials to determine whether Lyme PrEP works. That means Lyme PrEP could reach markets no sooner than 2023.
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Yale Researchers Develop Mrna
Yale researchers have developed an mRNA vaccine that targets the antigens found in tick saliva in order to alert individuals to tick bites as well as prevent the tick from feeding correctly, thereby reducing its ability to transmit pathogens.
12:45 am, Dec 02, 2021
Yale researchers have developed an mRNA vaccine against lyme disease that triggers an immune response at the site of a tick bite and provides partial protection against the disease-causing bacteria.
In a paper published on Nov. 17 in the Science Translational Medicine journal, scientists studied specific ticks called Ixodes scapulari that carry a lyme-disease-causing bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi.According to Gunjan Arora, one of the co-first authors of the paper and an associate research scientist at the Yale School of Medicine, lyme disease is the fastest-growing vector-borne illness in the United States, with close to half a million people affected every year. Currently, there are no commercially available vaccines for lyme disease. This novel vaccine is unique in that it targets the vector of transmission, the tick, rather than the actual pathogen itself.
Traditionally, vaccines are developed to target specific viruses or bacteria that can cause disease. However, this new lyme disease vaccine is designed to target tick salivary proteins, according to Matias dos Santos.
Ticks are classified as arachnids and are closely related to spiders and scorpions.
Lyme Disease In Dogs: What Your Vet Isnt Telling You
Lyme disease the mere thought of it is terrifying to pet owners everywhere. Rashes, lameness, swollen joints these are all symptoms that you never want your dog to experience.
The good news is, the situation isnt as scary as you may have thought.
Before we look at why, lets take a look at how dogs get Lyme disease in the first place.
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Lymerix Debuted Near The Beginning Of Anti
LYMErix had the misfortune of being approved the same year some people were becoming suspicious of vaccines in the United States. In 1998, the journal Lancet published a now-retracted study that claimed the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine was linked to autism, and the modern anti-vax movement was born.
At the same time, a few members of the FDA panel that approved LYMErix had voiced a theoretical concern that the drug could cause an autoimmune reaction leading to arthritis. The idea was that as the immune system learned to attack the protein that covered the Lyme bacteria, it could overreact and start to attack healthy tissue in the body. This side effect didnt occur in the clinical trial. It was listed as a hypothetical possibility.
The FDA panel eventually unanimously approved the drug, but the fear of an autoimmune reaction trickled down to the public.
What happened next was a perfect storm to drive the product from the market. A 2000 study found the vaccine contributed to autoimmune arthritis in hamsters. Other research posited that it was possible some people were more genetically predisposed to develop this type of autoimmune response in reaction to the vaccine.
The FDA looked into the claims but never found a connection between the vaccine and arthritis. By 2001, 1.4 million doses of the vaccine had been distributed, but the FDAs Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System only picked up on 59 reports of arthritis.
No Safety Issues Good Immune Response Reported In Early
Researchers are seeking thousands of volunteers in the U.S. and Europe to test the first potential vaccine against Lyme disease in 20 years in hopes of finding a better way to fight the tick-borne threat.
Lyme disease, caused by bacteria entering the body through the bite of an infected tick, is a growing problem, with reports of case numbers rising and warming weather helping ticks expand their habitat.
While a vaccine for dogs has long been available, the only Lyme disease vaccine for humans was pulled from the U.S. market in 2002 due to lack of demand, leaving people to rely on bug spray and tick checks.
“There’s currently no Lyme disease vaccine available for humans,” according to Health Canada. “However, there are clinical trials taking place in Europe and the U.S.”
Those trials involve Pfizer and French biotech company Valneva. They are aiming to avoid previous pitfalls in developing a new vaccine to protect both adults and kids as young as five from the most common Lyme strains on two continents.
When the last vaccine was pulled from the market, Pfizer vaccine chief Annaliesa Anderson told the Associated Press that “there wasn’t such a recognition, I think, of the severity of Lyme disease.”
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Where Are We Now
As Julia Belluz reported at Vox, Lyme cases doubled since 1991, spread by an increased number of infected ticks. Its now the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. And climate change seems to be partly to blame: As temperatures warm, a greater proportion of the US becomes hospitable to the ticks. Overall, vector-spread diseases like chikungunya, Zika, and West Nile are spreading faster than ever.
A safe and effective Lyme vaccine is desperately needed, Lise Nigrovic, a pediatric Lyme disease researcher at Boston Childrens Hospital, says in an email. Yet if you wanted to protect yourself with a Lyme disease vaccine, you couldnt get one. As Belluz explained, prevention efforts currently focus on avoiding tick bites. That means covering up exposed skin when spending time in wooded areas, using insect repellent, and checking your body for ticks after youve spent time outdoors in tick-laden areas.
WBUR in Boston reports there have been some small efforts to revive LYMErix , but the pharmaceutical industry has lost interest in it, and grassroots efforts have gone unfunded. The Lyme vaccine for dogs works in a similar manner to LYMErix. But while it does help control the spread of the disease, it doesnt make up for the lack of a vaccine in humans.
The loss of LYMErix represents the loss of a powerful tool for Lyme disease prevention, the authors of the Epidemiology and Infection article state.
Should You Get The Lyme Vaccine For Your Dog
I cant tell you what to do although there are a lot of folks who try to
If you visit the Pets & Parasites website, theyll do their best to scare you about the prospects of your dog getting Lyme disease.
Yet, how can Lyme disease be that scary when most dogs will never get sick? Even when they test positive for Lyme.
Why all the fuss about Lyme if it doesnt really affect dogs? Companion Animal Parasite Council publishes The Pets & Parasites website. And this council is sponsored by companies who make tick products they want you to buy.
You might think Im biased when it comes to vaccines and that would be true but Im nowhere near as biased as the huge corporations that make billions of dollars off dogs and cats each year! And dont think theyll share my little secret that 95% of dogs with Lyme disease will NEVER develop any symptoms theres no money in that message.
But they will try to scare you and your vet every year, so youll run out and get their spot ons and vaccines.
But now I hope you know better than to get caught up in the propaganda.
So, will you vaccinate your dog for Lyme this year?
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Lyme Disease Vaccine: Pfizer Valneva Launch Trials For First Shot In 20 Years
- Pfizer and Valneva have announced the start of phase 3 trials to test the efficacy of their new Lyme disease vaccine candidate, VLA15.
- Currently, there are no other vaccines available for this tick-borne disease.
- Lyme disease is on the rise globally, making the prospect of an effective vaccine highly anticipated.
Lyme disease is a growing problem, the debilitating condition is most commonly caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi which can be transferred by tick bites. Recent research revealed that 14.5% of the global population has, or has had, Lyme disease. The regions most affected are Central Europe, Eastern Asia, and Western Europe.
Lyme disease is on the rise in the U.S. The northeasts black-legged ticks and the northwests less common western black-legged ticks both of which carry the disease are spreading across the nation. They can now be found in half of the countrys counties.
On August 8, 2022, pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Valneva announced the beginning of phase 3
Could A Vaccine Help With Persistent Lyme Symptoms
For now, the clinical trials will just recruit people who’ve never had Lyme disease. But Torres said the vaccine may one day also be helpful for those dealing with persistent Lyme disease symptoms after a previous infection.
The idea is similar to what researchers are beginning to learn about using COVID-19 vaccines to treat persistent symptoms of long COVID, Torres said. For instance, he pointed to a study published in May in BMJ, which found that people who received a COVID-19 vaccine after testing positive were less likely to develop long COVID.
Experts are still investigating the biological reasons why long COVID happens and why a vaccine dose might help. One theory is that long COVID is a type of autoimmune response, in which the body’s immune system begins attacking its own healthy cells, Torres said. In that case, theoretically, “the vaccine helps the immune system fine-tune itself and target the germ it’s going after,” he said.
Another theory is that the virus is hidden away and “lingering” in a part of the body, Torres said. That can cause the symptoms to pop up every now and then, and a vaccine could help get them under control.
Of course, COVID-19 and Lyme disease are two different illnesses, but seeing this promising development with the COVID-19 vaccines points to a possible role for this new vaccine in treating long-term Lyme symptoms down the line.
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New Vaccine Engineered To Reduce Potential Side Effects
This new vaccine has a similar mechanism of action to that discontinued vaccine it also targets the OspA, the outer surface protein of the Borrelia bacteria that causes Lyme disease. This inhibits the bacteriums ability to leave the tick and infect humans.
But the new vaccine has been engineered differently, says Soloski. The part of the protein that was thought to be drive significant side effects like promoting arthritis or other kinds of musculoskeletal illnesses has been taken out, he says.
Is There Already A Lyme Disease Vaccine
The FDA previously approved a Lyme disease vaccine called Lymerix in 1998. Manufactured by SmithKline Beecham , Lymerix reduced new infections in adults by nearly 80%, according to the journal Epidemiology and Infection.
But some patients testified that they later developed arthritis. Even though an FDA investigation failed to show a link, media reports about the claims led to declining use and dwindling sales at the time.
Lymerix was pulled from the market in 2002, after just three years.
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Lyme Disease Spike Tied To Climate Wheres The Vaccine
By Ariel Wittenberg | 09/14/2022 01:20 PM EDT
There used to be a vaccine for Lyme disease, but it was discontinued by its manufacturer in 2003. @nci/Unsplash
The rash had been misdiagnosed, so Alec Plotkin had no warning when he collapsed while walking his dog in West Chester, Pa., as his heart rate fell to just 30 beats per minute.
Plotkin, then 39, had Lyme carditis, one of the most severe symptoms of the tick-borne disease.
The entire episode, plus the week in the intensive care unit to recover in 2005, could have been avoided if a Lyme disease vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1998 had remained on the market for more than just three years.
So says Stanley Plotkin, a vaccine expert who happens to be Alec Plotkins dad. The elder Plotkin attended the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel that reviewed the LYMErix vaccine and was working on a competing Lyme inoculation in the late 1990s.
Although LYMErix was proven safe and effective, the panelists questioned whether vaccinations were truly necessary.
Its manufacturer discontinued the vaccine in 2003, citing plummeting sales that Plotkin and others have blamed on the lackluster endorsement from the CDC panel, coupled with vaccine hesitancy from former Lyme disease patients.
Climate change and tick control
But as the climate warms, tick behavior changes, too.
Warming has also been blamed for Lymes spread north, even into some areas of Canada where it hasnt previously been seen.
Lyme Disease From Adult Ticks
Adult ticks will seek new hosts throughout the fall. Their peak activity is between late October and early November.
Adults prefer taller vegetation. Theyre usually seen 3 feet off the ground on high grasses or leaves. Adults often use deer as hosts but theyre also happy with humans, dogs or horses.
Its believed that 50% of adult ticks carry Lyme disease in endemic areas of the Northeast. But, while adult ticks can carry Lyme disease, theyre less likely to pass it on to their host. This is because theyre larger and easier to detect within the first 24 to 36 hours.
Note: the timing of peak activity for each life stage of the tick may differ depending on your area. Check with local health departments for peak tick activity where you live.
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Your Veterinarian Will Decide If The Lyme Vaccine Is Right For Your Dog
Your veterinarian is your best resource for deciding if your dog is a good candidate for the Lyme vaccination for dogs. So, before you sign your pup up for this yearly shot, talk with your vet about your pets lifestyle and risk level for Lyme disease.
Pets whove been treated for Lyme disease in dogs should probably get the vaccine, but not if the disease caused kidney damage, says Dr. Brevitz. The vet will check the dogs urine to see if there are excessive amounts of protein before giving the vaccine.
If there are abnormal amounts that are thought to be caused by Lyme disease, your pup should skip the vaccine to theoretically prevent more kidney damage from occurring.
Most dogs wont have side effects with this shot, and if they do, they are mild ones, like feeling tired or sore at the site of the injection, says Dr. Mengel. But, if your dog has a history of severe reactions, bring it up with your vet.
What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Exactly how often Lyme disease strikes isn’t clear. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites insurance records suggesting 476,000 people are treated for Lyme in the US each year. Pfizers Anderson put Europes yearly infections at about 130,000.
Black-legged ticks, also called deer ticks, carry Lyme-causing bacteria. The infection initially causes fatigue, fever, and joint pain. Often – but not always – the first sign is a red, round bull’s-eye rash.
Early antibiotic treatment is crucial, but it can be hard for people to tell if they were bitten by ticks, some as small as a pin. Untreated Lyme can cause severe arthritis and damage the heart and nervous system. Some people have lingering symptoms even after treatment.
Most vaccines against other diseases work after people are exposed to a germ. The Lyme vaccine offers a different strategy working a step earlier to block a tick bite from transmitting the infection, said Dr Gary Wormser, a Lyme expert at New York Medical College who isnt involved with the new research.
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Lyme Disease: Final Trial Ends 20
Euronews and AP
Researchers are seeking thousands of volunteers in the US and Europe to test the first potential vaccine against Lyme disease in 20 years in hopes of better fighting the tick-borne threat.
Lyme is a growing problem, with cases rising and warming weather helping ticks expand their habitat.
While a vaccine for dogs has long been available, the only Lyme vaccine for humans was taken off the US market in 2002 due to lack of demand, leaving people to rely on bug spray and tick checks.
Now Pfizer and French biotech Valneva are aiming to avoid previous pitfalls in developing a new vaccine to protect both adults and kids as young as 5 from the most common Lyme strains on two continents.
“There wasnt such a recognition, I think, of the severity of Lyme disease” and how many people it affects the last time around, Pfizer vaccine chief Annaliesa Anderson told The Associated Press.
Robert Terwilliger, an avid hunter and hiker, was first in line Friday when the study opened in central Pennsylvania. Hes seen lots of friends get Lyme and is tired of wondering if his next tick bite will make him sick.
“Its always a worry, you know? Especially when youre sitting in a tree stand hunting and you feel something crawling on you,” said Terwilliger, 60, of Williamsburg, Pennsylvania. “Youve got to be very, very cautious”.