New Study finds Potential Treatment for Lyme Disease

Targeting the bacteria that causes lingering symptoms can help people fully recover.

Apr 15, 2020

(Heiko Barth / Shutterstock.com)

As the weather gets warmer people tend to spend more time outdoors especially if you have to stay home for an extended time and keep socially distant from others. And what is more outdoorsy than taking a hike on a wooded trial? 

Of course, hiking in some areas means that you must take precautions against ticks in areas where Lyme Disease is prevalent like the North-eastern US. This disease caused by being bitten by a tick carrying the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria can have long-term health complications. Now a new study from Stanford University in California, has found a potential treatment to prevent lingering symptoms.

Lyme Disease affects nearly 300,000 people in the US as well as 23,000 people in Europe. While the majority of people with this disease develop a circular red rash around the area of the tick bite, it can show up weeks or up to three weeks later delaying treatment.

The standard treatment for Lyme has typically been a course of antibiotics like Doxycycline and that usually kills off the bacteria but for 20 percent, according to a Stanford University news release, the antibiotics do not work and people suffer from symptoms of muscle pain and chronic fatigue for years.

“Some researchers think this may be due to drug-tolerant bacteria living in the body and continuing to cause disease,” Jayakumar Rajadas, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine and director of the Biomaterials and Advanced Drug Delivery Laboratory at the Stanford School of Medicine said in the news release.

“Others believe it’s an immune disorder caused by bacteria during the first exposure, which causes a perpetual inflammation condition. Whatever the cause, the pain for patients is still very real.”

The process of finding the right compound to test took a long time.“We have been screening potential drugs for six years,” lead author research associate Venkata Raveendra Pothineni, PhD. said. 

“We’ve screened almost 8,000 chemical compounds. We have tested 50 molecules in the dish. The most effective and safest molecules were tested in animal models. Along the way, I’ve met many people suffering with this horrible, lingering disease. Our main goal is to find the best compound for treating patients and stop this disease.”

The new study on mice showed that the already FDA approved antibiotic Azlocillin – and one of the top-20 drugs tested – completely killed off the bacteria if used at the first onset of the disease and could potentially be used as a treatment for patients infected with bacteria resistant strains that cause the lingering symptoms.

“This compound is just amazing,” said Rajadas, “It clears the infection without a lot of side effects. We are hoping to repurpose it as an oral treatment for Lyme disease.”

Pothineni and Rajadas patented the compound for the treatment of Lyme disease plan on conducting clinical trials on people.

If Azlocillin proves to be as promising in people as it is in mice, then it will be a major medical breakthrough in the treatment of this deliberating disease. This is very welcome news.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:
Study Discovers New Beneficial Uses For Older Meds
New T-Cell Discovery May Lead to Universal Cancer Therapy
Now You Can Adopt Former FDA Lab Animals

BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.