Is it too late for a Lyme vaccine?
As you know, many doctors say Lyme is hard to catch and easy to treat, however, other well-respected researchers disagree.
At the heart of the disagreement lies two powerful medical powerhouses: Dr. Alan Steere (now at Harvard University) and Dr. Jorge Benach (now at SUNY Stony Brook, and previously partnered with Dr. Willy Burgdorfer). See: http://sb.cc.stonybrook.edu/magazine/on-the-trail-of-a-ticking-time-bomb)
At the same time that Dr. Steere was diagnosing the strange and previously unknown strain of bacteria infecting a large number of children in Lyme Connecticut, Dr. Benach and Burgdorfer were immersed in research looking for a link between ticks and Rickettsia. (see http://sb.cc.stonybrook.edu/magazine/on-the-trail-of-a-ticking-time-bomb/) This latter research resulted in the ultimate discovery of the Lyme disease.
Later, a fellow researcher of Dr. Benach’s, Benjamin Luft, PhD. would unravel the complex genomes of the Borrelia DNA enabling labs to diagnose species-specific Lyme such as Advanced Lab in Pennsylvania. Dr. Luft is one of the key designer’s of this new vaccine.
While pharmaceutical houses generally turned away from work on a Lyme vaccine in the wake of LYMERix being pulled from the market, Baxter International continued to work with scientists and doctors at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University Hospital.
The new Lyme disease vaccine co-developed by researchers at Stony Brook University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and at Baxter International Inc., a U.S. based healthcare company, revealed it to be promising and well tolerated, according to a research paper published online in The Lancet Infectious Diseases. The vaccine was shown to produce substantial antibodies against all targeted species of Borrelia, the causative agent of Lyme disease in Europe and the United States. Baxter International conducted the clinical trial of the vaccine.
Since the early 1990s, Benjamin Luft, MD, the Edmund D. Pellegrino Professor of Medicine at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, and the late John Dunn, Ph.D., a biologist at Brookhaven National Laboratory, spearheaded the initial development of the original vaccine antigen concept, and together with researchers at Baxter International helped bioengineer the formulation used in the clinical trial. Through the Stony Brook University School of Medicine and Brookhaven National Laboratory, The Research Foundation of the State of New York licensed intellectual property of the Lyme vaccine technology to Baxter International. Baxter International researchers in collaboration with Luft and Dunn. (see: http://www.bnl.gov/newsroom/news.php?a=11537)
Even though the vaccine will be too late for the millions of people who have been exposed to the disease and are already be infected, for most this vaccine represents hope for the future health of family and loved ones.