VCU Researcher Developing Lyme Disease Vaccine for Humans | Community Idea Stations

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VCU Researcher Developing Lyme Disease Vaccine for Humans

A researcher at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology has developed a test intended to more effectively detect Lyme disease in humans and is working on a vaccine to prevent it.

Last year Dr. Richard Marconi’s lab produced a Lyme disease vaccine for dogs and now, with a $500,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health, work is nearly complete on a vaccine for humans. It will consist of a protein called a Chimeritope.

"If you can trigger antibodies to many different variants of a protein it means you will be making antibody that can kill a broader array of strains."

Typically, Dr. Marconi said, it isn’t recognized that someone has the disease until the symptoms are pretty well developed. He recommends screening in people who may be at risk for getting it.

"One of the biggest challenges we have with Lyme Disease is we are always, essentially, playing catch up. We are really trying to reinvent the way we look at Lyme Disease by advocating for screening as opposed to waiting until the illness develops."