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New Lyme Disease Research Shows Promise

Misdiagnosis. Late diagnosis. Lyme disease patients are all too familiar with this devastating cascade of events leaving them ill with debilitating symptoms after inadequate or delayed treatment. Even for those patients fortunate enough to receive an early, accurate diagnosis, research shows that 10-20% still suffer persistent illness after treatment. With 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease each year in the US, the Lyme epidemic is burgeoning and better diagnostics and treatments are vitally needed.

Now, thanks to scientists at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Lyme Disease patients have some reason for hope. Dr. Ying Zhang and colleagues have discovered that a mixture of three antimicrobial drugs may provide a knockout punch to the Lyme disease superbug.

Dr. Zhang, a renowned expert in tuberculosis myobacterial persisters, the survivors after antibiotic exposure, applied his expertise to Lyme disease persisters by testing over 1,500 FDA approved compounds against the Borrelia burgdorferi Lyme bacteria in a 2014 in vitro study. Of that group, Dr. Zhang and his team identified the 27 most promising candidates for drug development. His latest research found that a specific three-drug combination eradicated the most resistant Lyme bacteria colonies in laboratory tests. 

This is good preliminary news. However, before human trials can begin, animal studies must first be completed. Unfortunately, there is little federal funding available, potentially delaying this important research.  

With your support, this critically important work can move ahead to help millions of Lyme disease patients.

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