“Persister” Borrelia Bacteria Confirmed by Johns Hopkins

After decades of being treated like “lyme loonies” (who are hypochondriacs, lazy, or insane) we are finally vindicated.

In a surprising move Johns Hopkins shocked many in the medical field when doing an end-run around Harvard with a land-mark study on “persister” cells.

Of course,  “persister” or persistent equals chronic. Right?

The reader can decide.

LDA reports:

Some patients who have been treated for Lyme with standard antibiotics such as doxycycline continue to suffer significant and debilitating symptoms. The cause has been debateable remains uncertain but may include the presence of Borrelia persister cells, immune dysfunction or the remains of bacterial debris. Persistence of viable but non-culturable Borrelia has already been demonstrated in mice, dogs and monkeys after antibiotic treatment.

A research team from Johns Hopkins University recently carried out initial in vitro research on Borrelia in a culture medium. They used 27 FDA approved antibiotics and found that certain compounds such as daptomycin, clofazimine and cefoperazone tended to have an effect on Borrelia persister cells. This led on to the current study which compares the effectiveness of combinations of antibiotics, some targeting the actively dividing bacterial cells with some aimed at the persisters in a two pronged approach.

It has been shown that in the lab under conditions of stress Borrelia spirochaetes can form pleomorphic forms. The drugs were tested on a culture of Borrelia which included individual spirochaetes, round bodied forms and micro-colonies of ‘biofilm-like’ aggregates. In a previous lab study the micro-colony persisters were found to be more resistant or tolerant to treatment than free-living or round bodied forms. A special test was used in which dead bacteria showed up red whereas surviving bacteria appeared green.

Due to this study my doctor added a newly identified antibiotic (to the 2 grams/day of penicillin he prescribed in 2014, and I began to improve. Thank-you Johns Hopkins!

However, if you find a tick embedded on your body do yourself a HUGE favor and get on a month or two of antibiotics immediately.

If you don’t have a doctor who will treat you aggressively – find one.




Evaluation of in-vitro antibiotic susceptibility of different morphological forms of Borrelia burgdorferi. Sapi E1, Kaur N, Anyanwu S, Luecke DF, Datar A, Patel S, Rossi M, Stricker RB.

Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine2012 | 19 | 2 |Serological survey in persons occupationally exposed to tick-borne pathogens in cases of co-infections with Borrelia burgdorferi, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Bartonella spp. and Babesia microti Chmielewska-Badora J. , Moniuszko A. , Zukiewicz-Sobczak W. , Zwolinski J. , Piatek J. , Pancewicz S.

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This entry was posted in Chronic Lyme Disease, Diagnosis of Lyme Disease, Lyme Disease News, Lyme Disease Symptoms, Lyme Disease Treatment, medical controversies and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to “Persister” Borrelia Bacteria Confirmed by Johns Hopkins

  1. Theresa Lee says:

    What is the name of the “newly identified” antibiotic ? I’m am suffering greatly and America bedridden. I am always looking for something to help. If you don’t know the name of it,ask your dr. Thanks

  2. Theresa Lee says:

    Am bedridden, not america bedridden…

  3. jeff means says:

    also would like to know of the new antibiotic


    • Jenna Seaver says:

      I am on penicillin and cefuroxime (the latter was added after the John Hopkins paper was published), however, I really feel strongly that multiple treatments are necessary for the chronic case and identifying co-infections and parasites (and mold, allergies, heavy metal toxicity among others) is of critical importance to developing an all-encompassing treatment protocol.

      I also utilize cinnamon oil, herbs, Cowden’s oils and others to stay ahead of the toxicity. I find Sarsaparilla (Smilax) is very helpful in removing the neuro-toxins after die-off to keep head clear.

      Best wishes.


  4. Alex says:

    Hi Jenna,
    Do you feel the cefuroxime has been profoundly helpful. Did you have a lot of herxing from it? Thanks!

    • Jenna Seaver says:

      Hi Alex –
      Yes, cefuroxime made a big difference in that I actually started feeling better! I am greatly improved and now dealing with symptoms I haven’t dealt with since my initial crash.

      I am surprised that the herxing was not more dramatic but I think that is because I don’t have as heavy of a load…however occasionally I have a real flare in symptoms (sort of like the way I used to feel ALL the time) and I think that may occur when I break up a biofilm. I am not sure I would be so improved if I didn’t stick with Serrapeptase every day…I have actually been able to get off the Fentanyl (all other pain meds as well) which is amazing after 10 years! I’m also off clonazepam and anti-deppressants (I honestly thought I would have to take them for the rest of my life!

      Have you been sick a long time?


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