Drug treatment for Lyme disease could lead to its eradication
The discovery that a chemical is deadly to the bacterium that causes Lyme disease but harmless to animals might allow the disease to be eradicated in the wild.
“Lyme disease is well-positioned to be eradicated,” says Kim Lewis at Northeastern University in Boston. “We are gearing up, the first field trial will be next summer.” (See link for article)
- Lewis’s team is looking at hygromycin
- The team didn’t notice any harmful effects in animals no matter now high the dose
- FlightPath is now filing in the US for the initial go-ahead required before the chemical can be tested in people
- A Field trial a decade ago using doxycycline baits for mice was successful, but widespread use could lead to antibiotic resistance
- Lewis’s studies suggest resistance to hygomycin would be difficult due to the way it resembles essential nutrients spirochetes need for survival
Journal reference: Cell, DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2021.09.011
Could this treatment prevent chronic Lyme disease?
Chronic Lyme disease has frustrated doctors and patients alike for years. The severe, lingering symptoms, such as chronic fatigue, muscle and joint pain, arthritis, or cognitive difficulties, have disrupted patients’ lives and treatments have been elusive.
But what if there was a way to prevent acute Lyme disease from progressing to the longer-term version?
That’s the premise that has driven Kim Lewis’ research. And now, the university distinguished professor of biology and director of the Antimicrobial Discovery Center at Northeastern says he has found a targeted treatment for acute Lyme disease that could do just that. (See link for article)
- Doxycycline, the antibiotic commonly used to treat Lyme disease is a broad spectrum antibiotic that kills indiscriminately, wiping out ones beneficial to health
- Lewis found in previous research that chronic Lyme patients have a gut microbiome distinct from healthy individuals
- Hygromycin A, found in soil, was discovered in 1953 but was dismissed as ineffective
- It appears to be potent against spirochetes
- Lewis’s team is also studying whether Hygromycin A can treat other spirochetal diseases like syphilis