Conn. (WTNH) — Lyme disease was discovered by scientists at Yale University in the 70’s, and with such a large deer population in New England, the need for finding a way to curb the disease has never been greater.
“One aspect of the new vaccine is that it includes coverage for Lyme species that occur in Europe in addition to those in the United State,” Dr. Peter Krause, Senior Research Scientist of the Yale School of Public Health, said. “So it’s sort of a broader coverage of vaccinations.”
Doctor Krause has studied Lyme Disease at Yale for 40 years and was involved in trials of the last vaccine attempt in 2020. He is encouraged that another candidate is now in Phase 3 trials, called the VLA15 from Pfizer and Valneva. It could prevent deer ticks from spreading the disease, which can be painful if not treated with antibiotics quickly.
Krause explained that people most commonly have joint complications, lyme arthritis, and neurogolic complications. Additionally, memingitis, peripheral nerve palsy, and other neurologic problems can occur, as well as cardiac complications.
A Lyme vaccine could add a new layer of safety to those who spend time outdoors. The vaccine would be available for people ages 5 and up.
According to the CDC, symptoms of Lyme Disease include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes. Sometimes, a telltale bullseye rash appears.
The new vaccine prompts the body to make antibodies against the virus.
“So essentially, what it does is it’ll still kill the Lyme organism within an attack,” Krause said, “so it never gets into you.”
Researchers at Yale are working on a vaccine that would not just target Lyme Disease, but other tickborne diseases as well, all part of what could be a future of new vaccines offering protection from tickborne illnesses.