Lyme disease has plagued children and adults for several years, but thanks to an $860,000 grant from the Department of Defense, a vaccine may be possible sometime soon. Baylor College researchers have joined forces with Texas Children’s Hospital’s Center for Vaccine Development. Lyme is the most common vector-borne disease in the U.S. military and in the general U.S. population. A vaccine would be a huge breakthrough.
"Contributing to this work and applying our strict quality system practices will be crucial to realize our long-term goal to develop a Lyme disease vaccine, and our vaccine center is well poised to achieve the goals of the project,” said assistant professor of tropical medicine at Baylor, Dr. Wen-Hsiang Chen. Chen is also the director of vaccine quality control and analytical development at Texas Children’s. About 300,000 people are affected by the disease every year in the US.
The disease is especially common in the Northeast and Midwest where ticks are common. Tick bites can expose the bloodstream to the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. Once in the blood, the bacteria can spread to the heart, joints, or brain. There are many effects of these infections such as neurological abnormalities, arthritis, and carditis. Finding a vaccine can help not only members of the military, but the whole world.