Novel mRNA Vaccine May Protect Against More than Lyme Disease

Dec, 2021 - By WMR

Novel mRNA Vaccine May Protect Against More than Lyme Disease

Scientists developed a new mRNA vaccine that helps the immune system to recognize tick bites, and prevents the transmission of any pathogenic disease.

Lyme disease is the most known disease that is spread through tick bites and it is caused by a bacterium known as Borrelia burgdorferi. Frequent exposure to these black-legged ticks that transmit the disease can create resistant against ticks or tick immunity. Now, to bypass the need for frequent exposures to the ticks in order to build resistance, a team of scientists developed a new vaccine that provided protection against infection caused by the bacteria causing Lyme disease when tested in animals.

Tick bites can transmit several diseases, and Lyme disease is the most known disease among them. There are vaccines that were successfully developed to target the bacteria of this Lyme disease in particular. The team of scientist used mRNA technology to target the tick itself.  This vaccine directs the cells to create some proteins that are found in the saliva of the black-legged tick lxodes scapularis. The novel vaccine is named as 19ISP, and it comprises directions for 19 different proteins found in the saliva of the tick. The team tested the vaccine on guinea pigs and observed that subjects that were vaccinated with the new vaccine, developed redness on the skin after the tick bite, indicating that their immune system was activated and gathered inflammatory cells to the infection site to fight it.

The scientists also found that these vaccinated guinea pigs developed resistance to the Lyme disease bacterium, which shows that a vaccine targeting resistance to tick bite may also be enough for prevention of most tick-borne diseases. While the researchers found that the vaccine was effective in guinea pigs, it was ineffective to reduce the tick immunity in mice. Hence, the human clinical trials of this new vaccine are still some years away.

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