COVID-19 vaccine maker Moderna has recently announced two new vaccine candidates that could prevent Lyme disease.
There is currently no approved vaccine for humans in the United States, after a previous one was pulled off the market in 2002 due to low consumer demand. However, with the rise of tick-borne illnesses in recent years due to the warming climate, there has been a growing need for a new vaccine to combat Lyme disease.
"With approximately 120,000 Lyme disease cases reported per year in the U.S. and Europe, there is a significant quality of life burden created by this pathogen," Moderna said in a statement. "With rising atmospheric temperatures, Lyme territory continues to increase in the U.S."
The company said its two vaccine candidates are designed to elicit antibodies specific to the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
Pfizer is also in late-stage clinical trials for its own vaccine candidate and intends to apply for FDA approval as early as 2025.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is typically transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected tick. The infection can cause a wide range of symptoms, including a rash that looks like a bull's eye, fever, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and in some cases, neurological symptoms.
If left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of the body and cause more severe complications, such as joint damage and heart problems. Lyme disease is treatable with antibiotics, but early diagnosis and treatment are crucial in preventing long-term health issues.
The best way to protect yourself is by avoiding places where ticks are common, such as wooded and grassy areas, especially during the spring and summer seasons. You should also wear protective clothing, use insect repellent, and always check yourself for ticks after spending time outdoors. If you do find a tick on your body, it's important to promptly remove it using tweezers and then clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
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