This week, Johns Hopkins University announced that the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation has awarded Johns Hopkins professors $10 million in grants to explore Lyme disease and develop potential new therapies to address the illness. It will be divided amongst two Bloomberg School of Public Health faculty members studying Lyme and the director of the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Center, John Aucott.
Ying Zhang, (from the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology) is looking for new ways of treating Lyme disease, particularly through new drug combinations for post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. His $2.5 million grant will provide stability to his research over the next five years.
The second professor, Brian Schwartz, is focusing his research on Pennsylvania, which has one of the highest populations of Lyme disease. From the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering (formally the Department of Environmental Health Sciences), Schwartz has a two phase study planned. Phase I examines the epidemiology of the Lyme disease population. From 2001 to present, there is data from over 500,000 patients. Phase II is a questionnaire-based study and will look at vulnerabilities within the population.
As the sixth most common infectious disease in the U.S., there is surprisingly little information on Lyme disease. For more information on the research funded by the grants, read the whole article.