While the controversy around the rise and fall of a Lyme disease vaccine for humans is a touchy subject, we can’t help but be excited when new science is published that gives us hope for a new Lyme vaccine. Living on the North Shore of Massachusetts, the number of deer ticks and the increased risk for Lyme disease is a daily concern for a large portion of the year. If a vaccine was available, we could certainly enjoy the outdoors with a little less anxiety.
Ten Years to Uncover the Inner Workings of the Deer Tick
Lead by Purdue University, a team of 93 scientists from 46 institutions, have spent the last ten years mapping the deer tick genome. The deer tick is the main vector for Lyme disease in the United States, a bugger we are all too familiar with here on the North Shore.
How Does Mapping the Deer Tick Genome Lead to a Vaccine?
There are many great clues about how deer ticks live, feed, hunt and transmit disease within their DNA. The secrets to their effective carrying and transmitting of bacteria are among the secrets unlocked. Scientists see opportunity in identified proteins that aid in the deer tick’s replication and transmission of bacteria. These proteins can be manipulated to interfere with the replication and transmission of the infection, which could aid in vaccination creation. The information may also serve as inspiration to create other methods of disease interference.
The Deer Tick Genome Opens Many Doors for Tick Control & Tick-Borne Disease Prevention
Many unique features of ticks are being revealed in the tick genome project. Scientists can learn a great deal about the pain inhibitors found in tick saliva, how they digest toxic amounts of iron in the blood they eat and how they can expand their bodies to one hundred times their normal size during a blood meal. A key discovery about tick control is that twenty percent of the genes mapped are unique to ticks. The 20% that is tick-specific can help create new and improved insecticides that will specifically target ticks.
While the mapping of the deer tick genome is akin to opening the door to an endless library of information, we are hopeful that a key piece of information is in there to help the hundreds of thousands of people affected by Lyme disease each year.
In the meantime, lower your risks and still enjoy a care-free outdoor lifestyle with Mosquito Squad of Leominster for tick control in your yard. Our tick mist eliminates 85-90% of ticks on contact and is complimented well by tick tubes, which eliminate larva and nymph ticks before they can emerge as potential Lyme disease transmitters. Call today!