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Lyme vaccine in development



On a frigid day in February, this article from the Czech Republic's online newspaper, the Prague Daily Monitor, provides a warm note of hope. All we have to do is hang in there for seven years:

Czech producer may have Lyme vaccine in 7 years
By ČTK / Published 21 February 2008



Olomouc, North Moravia, Feb 20 (CTK) - The development of a vaccine against Lyme disease (borreliosis) will take at least seven years though scientists from the Olomouc-based institute already have its formula, Evzen Weigl, head of the Immunology Institute of Olomouc university, told reporters Wednesday.

The vaccine is being developed by a five-member research team in Olomouc in cooperation with colleagues from the Bioveta pharmaceutical company in Ivanovice, south Moravia.

Bioveta director Libor Bittner told the Ekonom weekly in January that the vaccine is being tested in the Czech Republic and Germany and the results of the tests are expected by July.

"This information has become a media hit, but it has been slightly distorted. So far we have just a prototype of the vaccine, and only on the basis of preclinical trials' results we will seek a strategic partner for the production," said Weigl.

He added that a veterinary version of the vaccine was planned first.

"In the best case, the vaccine might be available in seven years," Weigl said. The vaccine development has continued for 13 years and cost several million crowns. Up to five research teams are working on this task in Europe, Weigl added.

Some 4000 people get annually infected with borreliosis, an infectious disease transmitted by ticks, in the Czech Republic. In 2006, 4370 people caught the disease in the country, which has been the highest figure in the past ten years.

Bioveta, founded in 1951, produces veterinary immunologicals and pharmaceuticals. It exports its products to some 40 countries.

Bioveta has already produced vaccine against Lyme disease for dogs.

The vaccine against encephalitis, another tick-borne disease, has already been developed.
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