New treatment would ‘eradicate’ Lyme disease

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American researchers have found a new effective treatment that would cure Lyme disease without developing side effects. This treatment could also eradicate the infection completely by attacking its environment.

Lyme disease soon to be eradicated? Researchers at the American University of Northeastern believe they have found a new treatment, which could prevent the progression to chronic forms of the disease, and, in fine, “completely eradicate it”. According to Futura Science, researchers, including Kim Lewis, could have screened soil microorganisms, allowing them to find a compound effective against spirochetes, and in particular Borrelia burgdorferi, the predominant strain of this disease in the United States.

Hygromycin A is believed to be active against Borrelia burgorferi. “No one was interested in it because its efficacy against bacteria in general is quite low. However, we have found that it has exceptional efficacy against spirochetes” explains Kim Lewis, taken up by the scientific platform.

This aminoglycoside antibiotic produced by the bacterium Streptomyces hygroscopicus would eliminate the infection and would not cause any side effects or modify the intestinal microbiota, unlike other antibiotics. “Even at very high doses, hygromycin A shows no signs of toxicity, which suggests that this compound is safe,” assures the researcher.

Attack ticks directly

Today, Lyme disease, or Lyme borreliosis, is contracted by 50,000 people per year in France. 893 patients were hospitalized in 2019 following this infection due to the spirochete Borrelia. Transmitted by ticks of the Ixodes type, this infection progresses in 10 to 20% of patients in chronic form, with joint, skin or even neurological symptoms.

A course of broad-spectrum antibiotics has been proposed as a treatment. However, it is ineffective in many patients and promotes bacterial resistance to antibiotics. It can also alter the bacterial intestinal flora, worsening the symptoms of chronic Lyme borreliosis.

With this new treatment, the researchers intend to treat patients, but also to eradicate the infection. Baits containing hygromycin A deposited in areas where ticks are found would be the solution. “Lyme disease is on the rise and, in many places, limits our ability to enjoy outdoor activities,” the researchers describe. “A permanent solution is therefore to eradicate the very source of the disease,” they conclude.

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