Counterattacking the tick bite: towards a rational design of anti-tick vaccines targeting pathogen transmission

  • Ryan O. M. RegoEmail authorView ORCID ID profileJos J. A. TrentelmanJuan AnguitaArd M. NijhofHein SprongBoris KlempaOndrej HajdusekJulen Tomás-CortázarTal AzagiMartin StrnadSarah KnorrRadek SimaMarie JaloveckaSabína Fumačová HavlíkováMartina LičkováMonika SlávikováPetr KopacekLibor Grubhoffer and Joppe W. Hovius
    Parasites & Vectors201912:229

    Published: 14 May 2019


Hematophagous arthropods are responsible for the transmission of a variety of pathogens that cause disease in humans and animals. Ticks of the Ixodes ricinus complex are vectors for some of the most frequently occurring human tick-borne diseases, particularly Lyme borreliosis and tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV). The search for vaccines against these diseases is ongoing. Efforts during the last few decades have primarily focused on understanding the biology of the transmitted viruses, bacteria and protozoans, with the goal of identifying targets for intervention. Successful vaccines have been developed against TBEV and Lyme borreliosis, although the latter is no longer available for humans. More recently, the focus of intervention has shifted back to where it was initially being studied which is the vector. State of the art technologies are being used for the identification of potential vaccine candidates for anti-tick vaccines that could be used either in humans or animals. The study of the interrelationship between ticks and the pathogens they transmit, including mechanisms of acquisition, persistence and transmission have come to the fore, as this knowledge may lead to the identification of critical elements of the pathogens’ life-cycle that could be targeted by vaccines. Here, we review the status of our current knowledge on the triangular relationships between ticks, the pathogens they carry and the mammalian hosts, as well as methods that are being used to identify anti-tick vaccine candidates that can prevent the transmission of tick-borne pathogens.



In the paragraph before the conclusion (in the full-length document) the following is stated:

Given the current health concerns related to LB, a novel vaccine would most likely be highly welcomed by society. On the other hand, the previously commercially available vaccine against LB was taken off the market for various and questionable reasons [232]. Therefore, efforts are needed to address societal prejudices associated with vaccination, including health benefits, risks, and necessity, especially from a public health perspective.

Well if that isn’t the understatement of the year, I don’t know what is.  The LB (Lyme borreliosis) vaccine was yanked off the market because it CAUSED Lyme symptoms in many people, as well as dogs:  Excerpt:  

In reality, the vaccine was pulled off the market to avoid disclosure of Phase IV data that probably would have shown limited efficacy and significant safety concerns related to LYMErix (11-13). That data has never been publicly released.

Regarding dogs:  Excerpt:

Cornell University found long-term side effects that paint a different picture of the safety of the canine Lyme disease vaccination.

In some cases, dogs develop Lyme disease anyway. It’s believed that the antibodies in the vaccine can develop into Lyme disease. Research finds dogs develop all the symptoms of Lyme disease up to six weeks after receiving the shot. While tests for the Lyme disease bacteria show up as negative, there are many dogs developing all the symptoms. Left untreated more concerning issues develop.

A number of dogs develop rheumatoid arthritis months or years later. However, the development of acute kidney failure is more alarming. Remember that 90 percent of dogs never become sick and that pulling off ticks before 48 hours eliminates any risk. Many vets feel the benefit of the vaccination is often outweighed by the potential risks.

Seems veterinarians are often wiser than general practitioners.

For a history of the entire Lyme vaccine saga:  Excerpt:  

It is believed that a rush to create a Lyme disease vaccine led to the mishandling of the disease. Current antibody tests for Lyme disease were manipulated in 1994 at the Dearborn Conference so as to facilitate vaccine development. The two most important indicators of infection were stripped out of serology tests so that the vaccinated would test seronegative. The vast majority of truly infected patients cannot obtain a timely diagnosis leading to a missed opportunity for successful short term treatment.

The vaccine known as LYMErix was supposed to expose the immune system to the outer surface protein A (OspA) of the spirochete responsible for causing Lyme disease but for some patients, it caused the same crippling effects of the disease itself as reported in the class action lawsuit:


“The people who have contacted us were, prior to vaccination with LYMErix, healthy, active and energetic. Indeed, the very reason they sought the LYMErix vaccine was their desire to preserve their healthy, active lifestyle. However, what they experienced was a dramatic degradation of their health and quality of life. As will be described below, these previously healthy individuals are now afflicted with painful, at times debilitating arthritic symptoms, including joint pain and swelling, as well as extremely severe Lyme-disease-like symptoms which have persisted to this day.”

I counted at least 20 people who authored this study.  Where are the researchers who are studying better testing, effective treatments, transmission studies on all the ways Lyme/MSIDS can be transmitted, post mortem studies to end the Lyme wars, and answers to how patients can pay for this plague?

Researchers for those issues are no where to be found.  If there are any, they are in their own basements using their own microscopes with limited funding.