The most common vector-borne illness in the U.S., the Lyme disease affects around 30,000 people every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This number, however, could be much higher, possibly reaching 300,000 cases per year, as most of the infections are not reported to the agency. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for the Lyme disease, even though this condition that spreads through the bite of a tick affects more and more people from one year to another. However, there is a hope for the future, as a new vaccine is currently undergoing the process of development.
The first attempt to create a vaccine for the Lyme disease
Actually, there was a vaccine for the Lyme disease and it was released a long time ago, in 1998 by SmithKline Beecham, a company currently known as GlaxoSmithKline. It was named LYMErix and its effectiveness in adults was measured at 76% after three doses. This vaccine was removed from the market only four years later, due to low sales and lawsuits from patients claiming that using this medication causes arthritis and a strong autoimmune reaction. Although these accusations were not confirmed by any studies, the media coverage was negative enough to discourage all potential users of LYMErix.
The negativity towards LYMErix discouraged others
According to Dr. Stanley A. Plotkin, an emeritus professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania, the negative reaction of the society towards LYMErix resulted in a loss of interest of other companies in developing the next version of vaccine for the Lyme disease.
A new ray of hope
Considering the fact that nowadays there are more infections with the Lyme disease than ever, it is not a surprise that another company attempts to create a vaccine for this condition. Valneva, which is based in Europe, announced that it is developing its own vaccine against six strains of Lyme Disease, called VLA15. The chief executive of the company, Thomas Lingelbach, stated that they have learnt from the failure of limericks so that their vaccine will not create an autoimmune reaction. VLA15 is currently undergoing tests and it should be ready for release in five years.