A new study conducted by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has found that an experimental mRNA vaccine provides protection against Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria responsible for causing Lyme disease. The findings from preclinical animal models suggest that this vaccine could potentially prevent the development of Lyme disease and help reduce the number of cases.
Lyme disease is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected ticks and can lead to symptoms such as fever, headache, fatigue, and a skin rash. If left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of the body, causing more severe complications. While antibiotics can effectively treat most cases of Lyme disease, some individuals develop post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS), which results in long-lasting symptoms.
The researchers used messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) technology, similar to that used in the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, to develop the Lyme disease vaccine. They targeted a specific protein called outer surface protein A (OspA), which is present in multiple strains of B. burgdorferi and plays a crucial role in eliciting an immune response. Animal models vaccinated with the mRNA vaccine showed a strong antibody and T-cell response and developed a robust memory B cell response, which could provide long-term protection against the bacteria.
The rise in Lyme disease cases in the United States highlights the need for an effective vaccine. The mRNA technology has shown promising results in developing vaccines, and this study contributes to the growing body of research in this field. Further studies and clinical trials are needed to determine the vaccine’s safety and efficacy in humans.
Source: University of Pennsylvania (no URL provided)