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Lyme disease vaccine progressing through clinical trials

05/29/2013

With summer comes an increase in cases of Lyme disease, particularly in the Northeast and upper-Midwest, where the disease most commonly occurs in the United States. 

Caused by a bacteria carried by the deer tick, Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne illness in the United States. The symptoms are varied, and can include rash, fever, chills, arthritis and neurological deficits. In rare cases, the disease has also been linked to heart problems and hepatitis, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Lyme disease carries a particularly high risk for elderly patients and those who have immune systems that are otherwise comprised, according to LymeDisease.org. These patients are often hospitalized in connection with the condition, and are at much higher risk of death.

While the Mayo Clinic recommends avoiding tall grass and limiting skin exposure in places where deer ticks are common to avoid Lyme infection, a new vaccine currently being tested may make these accommodations to the deer ticks a thing of the past.

A new finding published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases revealed that administering an experimental Lyme vaccine resulted trial participants producing significant antibodies against all forms of the bacteria that cause the condition. The vaccine was given out as part of a clinical trial run by the Stony Brook University School of Medicine and Brookhaven National Laboratory, according to Medical News Daily.

Researchers will now move on to a larger, phase 3 trial of the drug.