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Tick saliva may hold key to Lyme vaccine

Erol Fikrig, MD, and other researchers at the Yale School of Medicine may be hot on the trail of creating a new Lyme vaccine.   

What makes this Lyme vaccine different from the one that was taken off the market in 2002?   

From a recent post on Science Blog:   

"Traditionally, vaccines have directly targeted specific pathogens. This is the first time that antibodies against a protein in the saliva of a pathogen's transmitting agent (in this case, the tick) has been shown to confer immunity when administered protectively as a vaccine."   

Apparently the old Lyme vaccine "utilized just the outer surface proteins of the bacteria."

"The authors [of this study] believe this new strategy of targeting the saliva - the 'vector molecule' that a microbe requires to infect a host - may be applicable not just to Lyme disease but to other insect-borne pathogens that also cause human illness."

"We believe that it is likely that many arthropod-borne infection agents of medical importance use vector proteins as they move to the mammalian host," Fikrig explained.

If their scientific hunch proves correct, this study may also have positive implications for treatment of other illnesses that are spread by insects.

"Currently, we are working to determine if this strategy is likely to be important for West Nile virus infection, dengue fever, and malaria, among other diseases."
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