The Platelet Fraction Is a Novel Reservoir to Detect Lyme Borrelia in Blood

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Biology 2020, 9(11), 366;
Received: 16 September 2020 / Revised: 23 October 2020 / Accepted: 27 October 2020 / Published: 29 October 2020
To diagnose Lyme disease, a patient’s blood is tested for antibodies that develop as part of the immune response. This can lead to cases being missed or inadequately treated. An ideal test would directly detect the Lyme disease bacteria, Borrelia, to provide better clinical guidance. In this study, we aimed to improve the methods currently used to find Borrelia in human blood, and identified two opportunities for optimization. We demonstrate that the container most commonly used to collect blood (EDTA) decreases Borrelia’s ability to grow, and we identify a superior alternative (citrate). Additionally, using experimentally infected blood, we show that Borrelia is highly concentrated in the platelet fraction, making it an ideal candidate for direct detection. These results lay the foundation for diagnostic test development, which could improve patient outcomes in Lyme disease.
Serological diagnosis of Lyme disease suffers from considerable limitations. Yet, the technique cannot currently be replaced by direct detection methods, such as bacterial culture or molecular analysis, due to their inadequate sensitivity. The low bacterial burden in vasculature and lack of consensus around blood-based isolation of the causative pathogen, Borrelia burgdorferi, are central to this challenge. We therefore addressed methodological optimization of Borrelia recovery from blood, first by analyzing existing protocols, and then by using experimentally infected human blood to identify the processing conditions and fractions that increase Borrelia yield. In this proof-of-concept study, we now report two opportunities to improve recovery and detection of Borrelia from clinical samples. To enhance pathogen viability and cultivability during whole blood collection,
  • citrate anticoagulant is superior to more commonly used EDTA.
  • Despite the widespread reliance on serum and plasma as analytes, we found that the platelet fraction of blood concentrates Borrelia, providing an enriched resource for direct pathogen detection by microscopy, laboratory culture, Western blot, and PCR. The potential for platelets to serve as a reservoir for Borrelia and its diagnostic targets may transform direct clinical detection of this pathogen. View Full-Text


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The CDC deliberately avoids direct detection methods and has suppressed efforts for a direct test for decades.

Around 2003 the WHO encouraged research into microscopy as a direct test for the Borrelia spirochete, the pathogen causing Lyme disease. When a promising new and simple technique was discovered in 2013, it was however violently attacked. Not on the science itself, which is the normal procedure in science, but personally. Now retired professor microbiology Morten Laane was fired after he gave a lecture at a scientific conference in 2014. Moreover, his laboratory was closed down, the website of the scientific journal was hacked and the article disappeared. An exclusive interview (in link).

Lyme advocate and patient Carl Tuttle continues to ask WHY direct detection methods are not used for tick-borne illness.  The CDC continues to give him the run-around:

Within this link you will learn of a current lawsuit over this issue by Sin Hang Lee, alleging that employees of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) unilaterally terminated a contractual agreement under which the CDC agreed to evaluate a “no false-positive” DNA based Lyme disease test, a currently available test that vastly improves the speed and accuracy of Lyme disease diagnosis for sufferers, and one that is capable of diagnosing all tick-borne borrelial infections.

The CDC’s stranglehold over Lyme testing is also evident with COVID-19 testing.  

I question whether an accurate test for COVID-19 is even possible. It appears it has NOT been singularly isolated and purified and without this important foundation, an accurate test AND vaccine will never be possible: