The only licensed Lyme disease vaccine
In the 1990s, GlaxoSmithKline as known as SmithKline Beecham (SKB) at that time, developed a lyme disease vaccine form on the outer surface protein A (OspA), a protein was on the cell surface of the B. burgdorferi bacterium. The vaccine better producing of the antibodies against OspA; it targets the bacterium within the tick of rather than the human.When a tick bites a vaccinated person the blood full of antibodies enters the tick and kills the bacterium before it can be transmitted to the person.SKB’s vaccine called LYMErix for lyme disease, went through phase 3 clinical trials and was eventually approved by the FDA in 1998. LYMErix Lyme Disease was given to the people in three doses and was found to be about 80 percent effective in preventing Lyme disease.
Not long after its release, the lyme disease vaccine was met with a public backlash when reports of adverse reactions surfaced. SKB received a class action lawsuit by a Philadelphia law firm that represented over a hundred people who claimed they had experienced adverse reactions to the vaccine. Citing low demand and decreasing sales as the reason, SKB eventually pulled LYMErix off the market in 2002.
Though LYMErix was the first and last Lyme disease vaccine approved by the FDA, it was not the only one being developed.Around the same time SKB created LYMErix, Pasteur Merieux Connaught also manufactured its own vaccine based on OspA. The vaccine, ImuLyme, also went through phase 3 clinical trials, but the company decided not to apply for regulatory approval without revealing the reasons.
Other research on Lyme disease vaccines
Following the withdrawal of LYMErix from the market, Erol Fikrig, one of the physicians who helped develop the lyme disease vaccine, tried a different approach.He focused on the tick’s saliva and found a way to block transmission of the B. burgdorferi bacterium and potentially other bacteria, too. In 2009, Fikrig and his research team published the findings of their studies on mice in Cell Host & Microbe.In 2013, researchers from Stony Brook University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, NY, and Baxter International Inc., IL, published the results of their trials into another vaccine based on OspA.The group conducted trials in Germany and Austria and gave the vaccine to 300 participants. There were only a few mild adverse reactions and no serious adverse events related to the vaccine.The researchers have yet to conduct efficacy studies of the vaccine.In 2015, MassBiologics, a non-profit vaccine manufacturer at University of Massachusetts Medical School, presented their research on pre-exposure prophylaxis.