FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Combination Antibiotic Therapies May Be Capable of Eradicating Lyme Disease, According to Investigational Study Funded by Bay Area Lyme Foundation
Study identifies persistent Lyme bacteria in tissue samples and points to need for clinical studies of combination antibiotics in persistent Lyme
PORTOLA VALLEY, Calif., November 21, 2023—Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading public foundation sponsor of Lyme disease research in the US, today announced results of a laboratory study published in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Microbiology that identifies seven combination therapies that are superior to courses of single antibiotics for treating persistent Lyme disease in an investigational model. These combination therapies were able to eradicate the bacteria from tissue samples, and the study was conducted by Bay Area Lyme Foundation Scientific Advisory Board member Monica Embers Ph.D., along with other researchers from Tulane University.
“Our results support the experience of Lyme disease patients whose symptoms have not resolved after a standard course of antibiotics, and these new data suggest that combination therapy should be investigated in clinical studies for treating persistent human Lyme disease,” said Embers, an associate professor of microbiology and immunology and director of Vector-borne Disease Research at Tulane National Primate Research Center.
While none of the single courses of antibiotics eliminated persistent infection in this investigational study, some combinations of already FDA-approved antimicrobial treatments were able to eradicate the bacteria. Specifically, four different dual combinations of antibiotics (doxycycline and ceftriaxone; dapsone and rifampicin; dapsone and clofazimine; doxycycline and cefotaxime) and three triple combinations of antibiotics and antimicrobials (doxycycline, ceftriaxone and carbomycin; doxycycline, cefotaxime and loratadine; dapsone, rifampicin and clofazimine) eradicated persistent infections of Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
“With no FDA-approved treatment for persistent Lyme, these data will bring much-needed hope to the approximately 2 million Americans who live with symptoms such as chronic pain, fatigue, and cognitive dysfunction due to this terrible disease,” said Linda Giampa, executive director of the Bay Area Lyme Foundation. “Importantly, this is yet another study demonstrating the existence of persistent infection following a standard course of antibiotics.”
In this study, Borrelia burgdorferi was found in tissue cultures taken after a 28-day course of a single antibiotic treatment, supporting previous data showing that the bacteria can persist following standard treatment. Conversely, viable Borrelia burgdorferi was not detected in cultured tissues following administration of the seven treatment combinations.
Previous studies funded by Bay Area Lyme Foundation also found other compounds, including natural botanicals, to show promise in killing Borrelia burgdorferi and superiority over commonly prescribed antibiotics in laboratory research.
This study was made possible by Bay Area Lyme Foundation’s science research grant program, which includes support from Project Lyme.
About Lyme disease
The most common vector-borne infectious disease in the US, Lyme disease is a potentially disabling infection caused by bacteria transmitted through the bite of an infected tick to people and pets, and can be potentially passed from a pregnant mother to her unborn baby. If caught early, most cases of Lyme disease can be effectively treated, but it is commonly misdiagnosed due to lack of awareness and inaccurate diagnostic tests. There are almost 500,000 new cases of Lyme disease each year, according to statistics released in 2018 by the CDC. As a result of the difficulty in diagnosing and treating Lyme disease, up to two million Americans may be suffering from the impact of its debilitating long-term symptoms and complications, according to Bay Area Lyme Foundation estimates.
About Bay Area Lyme Foundation
Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a national organization committed to making Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure, is the leading public not-for-profit sponsor of innovative Lyme disease research in the US. A 501c3 organization based in Silicon Valley, Bay Area Lyme Foundation collaborates with world-class scientists and institutions to accelerate medical breakthroughs for Lyme disease. It is also dedicated to providing reliable, fact-based information so that prevention and the importance of early treatment are common knowledge. A pivotal donation from The LaureL STEM FUND covers overhead costs and allows for 100% of all donor contributions to the Bay Area Lyme Foundation to go directly to research and prevention programs. For more information about Lyme disease or to get involved, visit www.bayarealyme.org or call us at 650-530-2439.
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