New vaccine could protect us from lyme disease

Berlin Hit By Measles Outbreak
Getty Images | Sean Gallup

Summer brings a myriad of opportunities for fun, outdoor adventures. But it also exposes people to the less enjoyable things that come with warmer weather—such as ticks and the Lyme disease they spread. And while families can apply repellent and keep an eye out for pesky ticks, there’s currently no treatment out there that can guarantee protection against Lyme disease.

However, scientists are developing a seasonal shot that could protect against Lyme disease. Developers have nearly completed work on the Lyme pre-exposer prophylaxis shot (or Lyme prep, they called it.)   The FDA might approve the drug within two to three years. Once on the market, a single shot could protect you from spring to fall.

How does Lyme Disease shot work?

So how does it work? Researchers involved identified a single antibody that destroys the bacteria in biting ticks . This means ticks can’t transfer Lyme Disease to people.

So far, a single injection of the antibody has been 100 percent successful at preventing Lyme disease in mice.

lyme disease photo
Getty Images | Getty Images

There are approximately 300,000 reported cases of the disease every year in the United States alone. The illness can cause a rash, fever and muscle and joint aches. Left untreated, it can cause facial paralysis, nerve pain, loss of short-term memory and arthritis. Also, some people’s battle with Lyme disease can last years.

If this new shot works, it can be an absolute game-changer for many families. Until it comes out, however, you’ll want to make sure you take active steps to avoid tick bites while outdoors. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Consistently apply repellent that has at least 20 percent DEET, picaridin, or IR3535, and follow application instructions.
  • Avoid overgrown trails.
  • Treat clothes and tents with products that contain permethrin.
  • Do full-body tick checks (on both humans and pets) after coming back from tick-friendly areas.
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