In America, Lyme disease is a problem that is more and more important for the community since the number of people that get infected is bigger year by year. At one point there were even 300 thousand people infected during a year. By now some may have been wondering why there is no vaccine to protect you against this disease which is carried by ticks. However, during the 1990s and early 2000s there was one and today we will be talking about why it was discontinued and what would be the next step in preventing this disease.
This drug was developed by SmithKline Beecham and it got approved by the FDA in 1998. The vaccine was not perfect but it worked because it targeted the bacteria while it was still in the tick’s body. It prevented Lyme with a success rate of around 90 percent and millions of people got it.
However, this vaccine was developed at a time when fear of vaccines was starting to spread, with various articles falsely accusing that measles, rubella, and other vaccines were linked to autism. Some members of the FDA that initially approved LYMErix were concerned that it could be linked with arthritis through an autoimmune reaction.
A study coming out in 2000 which showed that hamsters that were administered this drug developed autoimmune arthritis and some people complaining of joint pain helped raise even more concerns, which eventually lead to this vaccine being pulled from the market.
If you wanted to buy LYMErix now you could not find it on the market since the patent expired. However, all is not lost since a French company is working on coming up with a new Lyme disease vaccine. However, we could wait for a couple of years before we will see this vaccine available on the market.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca