Is a Lyme vaccine for humans coming? Recent information from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) points to yes. We have shared hopeful stories concerning medical Lyme prevention in the past, but as a new vaccine receives “Fast Track” status with the FDA, it’s possible this much-needed prevention is within arm’s reach. What does Fast Track status mean? With certain critically needed vaccinations or similar types of agents, the FDA will accept less testing before their final approval, which according to Newsweek can reduce the developmental time for a vaccine by years. VLA15, a vaccine candidate, produced by European biotech firm Valneva, has been awarded this distinction. The FDA understands that there is a critical need to fight Lyme Disease in the United States.
LYME VACCINE TESTING
Valneva already has the first phase of testing in the works. Three studies are in the process, two in the US and one in Belgium, to study the safety and effectiveness of VLA15. This new vaccine candidate targets the protein in the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. There are 180 subjects involved between the ages of 18 and 40. With this Fast Track go ahead they will be able to move on to larger studies at the beginning of 2018. Valneva has been successful in producing vaccines against Japanese encephalitis and cholera for traveling.
PREVIOUS HUMAN LYME VACCINES
In the 1990s the pharmaceutical firm of SmithKline Beecham produced a Lyme Disease vaccine that was approved by the FDA called LYMErix. Later it was removed from the market due to a class action suit filed, claiming the company was hiding harmful effects from the vaccine. Groups that are anti vaccine have been fighting the approval of a Lyme disease vaccine for years. They believe that vaccines cause autism, among other health issues, and claimed that LYMErix may have caused arthritis. There is a continued struggle between these anti-vaccine factions and those that hope to find a vaccine that stops Lyme disease.
HUMAN LYME VACCINE: COMING SOON?
With testing still to be done and no way to be sure of the results, it’s impossible to determine when we might actually have a human vaccine for Lyme Disease. However, Lyme is one of the fastest growing vector-borne infection in the United States. While treatable with antibiotics, there are reports of long-lingering symptoms mostly categorized as fatigue and joint pain. With the FDA’s Fast Track designation of VA15, there is an obvious understanding of the dire need to fight this illness. At Mosquito Squad of Leominster we remain hopeful that we will see a vaccine on the market soon. We are committed to keeping you informed. It’s important to your families and your families are important to us.
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