Instead of provoking an immune response against a specific pathogen, the new vaccine responds rapidly to components of tick saliva on the skin. This reduces the time of direct contact of the arachnid with humans, reducing the risk of infection. The innovative preparation is another mRNA vaccine.
Until July 15 this year. over 4,000 cases have been reported in Poland Lyme diseaseand in the whole of 2020, nearly 13,000 cases were diagnosed. There was more in 2019, when we crossed the barrier of 20,000 infected. In the United States, there are twice as many cases, but the actual number of infections may be 10 times as many. Moreover, ticks can transmit other diseases as well.
There are many diseases that are transmitted by ticks and our approach potentially offers wider protection than a vaccine that targets a specific pathogen. It could also be used in conjunction with a more traditional pathogen-based vaccine to increase their effectiveness, Prof. Erol Fikrig from the Yale School of Medicine.
Tick saliva Ixodes scapularisthat carries the pathogen Borrelia burgdorferi (causing Lyme disease) contains many proteins. Scientists focused on 19 of them and used fragments of their mRNA as the basis of a vaccine. A similar strategy was used for preparations protecting against SARS-CoV-2 infections.
The vaccine has already been tested on guinea pigs, but it’s too soon to talk about testing larger animals (let alone humans).
In the vaccinated guinea pigs, it happened quickly redness at the site of the bite tick. None of the animals developed Lyme disease if the arachnid was removed immediately after the edema appeared. About half of the animals in the control group became infected with B. burgdorferi after removal of the tick.
– The vaccine improves the recognition of ticks by partially turning a tick bite into a mosquito bite. When you feel a mosquito bite, you wave it. The vaccine causes redness and possibly itching, so you can recognize that you have been bitten and need to quickly pull the tick off before it can transfer B. burgdorferi, added Prof. Fikrig.
More research is needed to discover how proteins in tick saliva can prevent infection.