New techniques have been developed by scientists to identify Lyme disease bacteria weeks before the existing tests, enabling patients to begin treatment earlier. The researchers are from Harvard University, Rutgers Biomedical & Health Sciences, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Yale University, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, FDA, and other institutions.
These new methods can identify an active Lyme bacterial infection earlier than the 3 weeks it requires for the existing indirect antibody-based tests—that since 1994 have been a standard. One more benefit of the new techniques is that a positive outcome in blood pinpoints the infection is on the go and should be instantly treated, facilitating faster treatment to avoid long-term health issues. The tests identify protein or DNA from Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease bacteria.
Lyme disease markers frequently, though not always, comprise a bull’s eye or red ring skin rash. When there’s no rash, a dependable lab test is required and ideally one that signifies active infection. The only FDA-sanctioned Lyme disease tests depend on identifying antibodies that the immune system of the body produces in response to the condition. Such a single antibody test isn’t an active disease marker but instead only an exposure marker—present or past.
The researcher said, “The new techniques that directly identify the DNA of Lyme agent are more accurate and are not prone to the identical false-positive results and doubts linked to existing FDA-certified indirect tests.”
In another study, taking into consideration the rising incidents of infection, the researchers from the Institut Pasteur utilized mice to examine the spread of bacteria through ticks infected with several North American and European Borrelia species. They discovered proof of fast bacterial transmission after a bite, with infectivity transpiring within 24 H of an adult tick bite and at times even faster for nymph bites.