Why don’t we have a vaccine for Lyme disease?

in vaccine •  6 months ago

Why don’t we have a vaccine for Lyme disease?

Anti-vaxers claimed a link to arthritis, “So the manufacturer pulled it from the market, despite the fact that early data from the additional safety trial found ‘no differences in any significant adverse reactions noted between control subjects and vaccinated persons.’”

The market responds to consumer tastes and values. If enough consumers prefer not to consume a product, then a well-functioning market will indeed stop providing the product. That's what a well-functioning market does. What's failed here is consumers' scientific knowledge.

It’s possible that antivax sentiment has weakened, or that the sentiment just happened to meet a vaccine that people thought they could do without. But it really does say that public demand collapsed.

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The first and only licensed vaccine against Lyme disease was developed by SmithKline Beecham (now GlaxoSmithKline). Given in a three-dose series, the vaccine had an unusual method of action: it stimulated antibodies that attacked the Lyme bacteria in the tick’s gut as it fed on the human host, before the bacteria were able to enter the body. This was about 78% effective in protecting against Lyme infection after all three doses of the vaccine had been given.

The vaccine, called LYMERix, was licensed in 1998. By 2002 SmithKline Beecham had withdrawn it from the market, and Pasteur Mérieux Connaught decided not to apply for a license for its own Lyme vaccine candidate, despite having already demonstrated its efficacy in a Phase III clinical trial. Today there are no vaccines available to prevent Lyme disease, and it is unlikely that any will be licensed in the near future. The debut and subsequent withdrawal of the Lyme disease vaccine has lasting implications for future vaccine development and use.

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