Lyme disease poses an increasing global threat, driven by climate change and increased human migration, say experts. While Lyme disease vaccines in development show promise, it’s still likely to be years before they’re available, meaning early diagnosis and antibiotic treatment are more important than ever. These are the top-line findings from a paper on the prevention of tick-borne diseases published in Biologia.
Across the world, Lyme disease is a growing threat, with almost half a million cases in the US every year. As a result, public awareness of Lyme disease is improving. Many of us can spot the bullseye rash, a common sign of Lyme disease infection. However, this only appears in 70% of cases meaning “diagnosis and subsequent treatment are more difficult”.
In most healthcare systems, Lyme disease diagnosis is based on clinical manifestations of the condition. This can include patient conformation of a tick bite or the appearance of a rash. More recently, patients and clinicians are benefitting from accurate diagnostic tests offered by Biocentaur. Multisystemic inflammatory symptoms take between 2-30 days to appear and worsen unless Lyme disease is treated. Up to 2% of all patients report persistent symptoms a year after diagnosis.
Rapid diagnosis is critical to early treatment and the best clinical outcomes, conclude the experts in the paper. Biocentaur’s PrimeSpot test can accurately detect and quantify viruses, including Lyme disease-associated species, to provide an accurate diagnosis, and is offering patients an opportunity to learn what’s causing their symptoms.
In the paper, researchers describe several exciting Lyme disease vaccine candidates, including those which target the salivary gland protein SALP15 found on ticks. Researchers say one such vaccine has been successfully tested in mice and offers solid potential to limit the spread of Lyme disease, researchers say.
The authors urge a shift in focus for those involved in creating vaccines. “Understanding the regulation of the tick’s digestive mechanisms is currently the most powerful tool for combating the tick as a parasite,” says the authors. “The most appropriate strategy used to control the life cycle of ticks is to identify molecules that control feeding and digestion.” Specifically, the authors suggest scientists focus on neuropeptides, molecules that control communication between cells.
Simply put, a greater understanding of the relationship between the Lyme disease-carrying tick, the pathogen and the host are critical. Doing so could provide scientists with “efficient tools for interruption of pathogen transmission”. They’ll be better able to develop effective vaccines to curb the spread of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.
The paper provides a fascinating insight into the threat tick-borne diseases pose to our health and the mechanisms scientists can use to target them. In the future, such approaches could provide exciting avenues to help create new vaccines that could protect against Lyme disease infection.
Today, early diagnosis is critical in ensuring the best outcomes. Biocentaur’s PrimeSpot and PaldiSpot tests provide clinicians with an accurate Lyme disease diagnosis, including the specific strain. This information enables them to develop the most effective range of treatments delivered as soon as possible.
You can read the full paper, Prevention of tick-borne diseases: challenge to recent medicine, here.