A new mRNA vaccine is being developed, incl.  against Lyme disease

The mRNA vaccine, which works in a similar way to Covid-19 vaccines, may prevent Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases, suggesting the promising results of animal studies in Science Translational Medicine.

In the United States, Lyme disease is the most common type of infection transmitted from animals to humans. Each year, deer ticks (Ixodes scapularis) carry the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi there for up to half a million people. Lyme disease causes flu-like symptoms, the characteristic rash, and can also affect the brain, nerves, heart, and joints, sometimes resulting in permanent nerve damage and arthritis. Antibiotics may be effective in the early stages, but an increasing number of people are – by one estimate – At least 1.6 million in 2020 – suffering from the chronic consequences of infection. There is no human vaccine currently available, although there is one in clinical trials.

a. Errol Vikrig of Yale School of Medicine has worked for 10 years on a new vaccine that does not target the pathogen — but rather the tick that carries it. However, in June 2019, at a meeting in Killarney, Ireland, he heard immunologist Drew Wiseman of the University of Pennsylvania describe a technology unknown at the time: a vaccine that uses messenger RNA (mRNA). a. Vikrig, he recalls, immediately sensed the potential of the new technology.

Previous vaccines were intended to target B. ticks’ saliva containing factors that help transmit the pathogen, but these proteins are “difficult to make in the lab,” says Vikrig, quoted on science.org. The beauty of the mRNA vaccine is that… you don’t have to make protein – your body does it for you – He adds.

Thanks to his team’s work, a vaccine has been created that contains 19 separate mRNA fragments. Each of them encodes a protein or antigen from deer tick saliva (by comparison, mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 provide only one antigen).

The mRNA vaccine definitely saved us from Covid says Jorge Benach, a microbiologist at Stony Brook University who co-discovered Borrelia burgdorferi. currently [Fikrig] Uses amazing technology… with more than one antigen at a time. (…) I think it will be very useful for vaccines in the future – He adds.

This is the first vaccine [przeznaczona dla ludzi] Against an infectious disease that does not target the pathogen – The professor indicated. Vicraig.

So far, an mRNA vaccine given to guinea pigs has turned tick marks red and caused inflammation. The ticks ate malnutrition, fell early, and often did not transmit the bacteria that caused Lyme disease. Scientists hope that one day the vaccine will work the same way for humans. It is possible that the same mechanism of action may find application in many tick-borne diseases.

For many people, tick bites go unnoticed, which allows these arthropods to feed without interruption. The new vaccine, with multiple mRNA fragments that direct host cells to make important proteins in tick saliva, prepared the guinea pig’s immune system to respond to tick bites. By 18 hours after the tick bite, most bites have turned red, inflamed, and (possibly) itchy.

This is important because B. burgdorferi is rarely transmitted from ticks to hosts before 36 hours (ticks often remain attached for 4 days or longer). When the scientists removed the tick soon after inflammation appeared at the site of the sting (as a human sting could do), transmission of B. burgdorferi was prevented.

However, much of your protection will likely depend on whether people discover an itchy red tick bite and get it removed early. When three infected ticks were attached to guinea pigs and kept on them until they were 60% saturated. The vaccinated animals became infected (almost as in the control group). It is not yet known if vaccinated people will respond similarly to guinea pigs.

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