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Success on the vaccine front.

Vaccination with either of two specific proteins isolated from Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, can protect mice from the infection, researchers from Yale University have found. The vaccines can also prevent ticks from spreading the disease, they report.

The investigators, led by Erol Fikrig, injected mice with either OspA or OspB, two proteins from the outer wall of B. burgdorferi. When they allowed young deer ticks infected with the bacteria to feed on the mice, they discovered that the mice remained uninfected. Moreover, studies revealed that ingested blood from the mice killed all of the B. burgdorferi in the guts of the ticks, halting the dissemination of the disease.

Fikrig and his colleagues conclude that either protein might constitute an effective vaccine against Lyme disease. "They're both effective in our initial experiments," he says. But he cautions that the proteins vary among different strains of B. burgdorferi, so the best vaccine might consist of a combination of various OspA or OspB proteins.

Fikrig says his group hopes to begin clinical trials of a Lyme vaccine within the next three years. They also plan to test whether baits soaked with an oral form of the vaccine might reduce the number of infected mice in the wild.
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Title Annotation:protein vaccine for prevention of Lyme disease
Author:Ezzell, Carol
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jun 13, 1992
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