mRNA Vaccine May Help with Lyme Disease Prevention

Originally seen in Fish’n Canada’s Week in Review

Our second story of the week takes us south of the border as a team of researchers at Yale University have potentially developed a vaccine that could help eliminate the threat of Lyme Disease.

According to the New Scientist, the vaccine uses mRNA technology, the same used in the majority of COVID vaccines, using 19 proteins found in tick saliva to train the human immune system to react to tick bites.

The reaction that the vaccine is intending to produce is a small, itchy rash, similar to that of a mosquito bite. While taking a vaccine that is intended to cause you discomfort may seem counterproductive, this response is intended to let the person who is bit know exactly where the tick has nestled in and remove it within the brief window where bacteria has not yet been spread.

As many are aware, Lyme Disease is the primary concern with tick bites, a disease capable of causing life-long nerve pain, arthritis, and a variety of other symptoms. The bacteria that causes this disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, is found in the tick’s saliva and is only spread to humans after roughly 36 hours of the tick being latched on. While this may seem like a relatively long window to find a tick and remove it, anyone who has ever been bit will tell you it is not as simple as it sounds.

Tick bites are often painless and produce little to no symptoms until it is far too late. Our very own Angelo Viola, experienced this a few years back when deer ticks hitched a ride on both him and his grandson Nik, resulting in a month-long Lyme Disease prevention treatment. His full story can be found here:

So far, the vaccine has only been tested on Guinea Pigs (fitting…), but the results have been very promising. Out of all the Guinea Pigs given the vaccine, all produced a noticeable rash upon being bitten and none became infected with the disease when the tick was removed. Out of the unvaccinated group, few responded to the tick and over half contracted Lyme Disease as a result. Evidence is also beginning to suggest that the body’s response to the tick may cause the tick to fall off before transmission, eliminating the threat of the disease altogether.

Trials for this vaccine are still ongoing but testing is soon to be expanded to larger animals that would more closely mimic the human response.

This excerpt was taken from Fish’n Canada’s Week in Review, our weekly recap of all things relevant to the Canadian outdoorsman. For more stories like this, check out the full article below and tune back in every Friday to catch up on everything you missed!

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