Penn Medicine tests experimental Lyme disease vaccine

Penn Medicine researchers created an experimental mRNA vaccine that could protect against Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

The vaccine, described in Cell Press, uses the same mRNA technology as the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Researchers identified one of the proteins in B. burgdorferi that elicits a potent immune response and created a vaccine that targeted that protein, according to a Sept. 19 system news release.

In animal models, the vaccine induced a strong antigen-specific antibody and T-cell response as well as a strong memory B cell response after a single vaccination.

"The mRNA technology shows great promise for use in developing a vaccine that may prevent Lyme disease and subsequent development of the debilitating symptoms of post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome," senior author Norbert Pardi, PhD, an assistant professor of microbiology at Philadelphia-based Penn Medicine, said in the release.


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