Then click on “Video Replay” – click on each session and there is a Replay button.
All CME registered attendees, you must log into the Attendee Hub https://cvent.me/d924Z3 and click on the button for CME evaluation form which you MUST fill out.
CME certificates from Columbia University will be automatically sent by end of October.
CONFERENCE COMPLETED 2021 Annual Scientific Conference The Lyme Disease Association Inc. and Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons are jointly providing the 21st annual CME scientific conference, Lyme & Other Tick-Borne Diseases: Research for a Cure, virtually, on October 2, 2021. This conference is designed to meet the high standards for continuing medical education credits for medical & health professionals and researchers. It is also open to the general public (adults only). Attendance may be limited! Please freely share this conference information on website, social media, etc.
NCDHHS Offers Information on Monoclonal Antibodies for Treatment of COVID-19
NC Department of Health and Human Services has offered information advising how patients can locate services for monoclonal antibodies treatment for COVID-19 infections.
The NCDHHS website states, “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to allow the use of monoclonal antibody therapies for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in certain high-risk patients. All high-risk adults and high-risk youth ages 12-17 who weigh at least 88 pounds may be eligible for treatment.
“While vaccines provide the best protection from COVID-19, treatment options such as Monoclonal Antibodies are available if you have had symptoms of COVID-19 for 10 days or less or have been exposed to COVID-19. If taken early, they can reduce the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death. Ask your doctor about Monoclonal Antibodies or call the Combat COVID Monoclonal Antibodies Call Center at 1-877-332-6585 (English) or 1-877-366-0310 (Spanish).”
Comptroller General Investigation of Ticks/Vectors & Biowarfare Passes House
The Lyme Disease Association announces that the House voted this week to pass a number of amendments to the NDAA, National Defense Authorization Act, including a Congressman Chris Smith amendment —The Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct a review of whether the Department of Defense experimented with ticks, other insects, airborne releases of tick-borne bacteria, viruses, pathogens, or any other tick-borne agents regarding use as a biological weapon between the years of 1950 and 1977.
There is information in various publications that such activities did occur, especially in the book “Bitten” by Kris Newby– a science writer at Stanford University—a book, which explores the evidence through actual government documents and interviews with some researchers who were involved that document such experiments.
The Lyme Disease Association Inc. has worked with Congressman Smith (NJ-04) on this legislative issue since 2019, with his introduction of a similar amendment which passed the House and in 2020 when this current version of the amendment was first passed by the House.
Said LDA President Pat Smith, former 4 year member of the HHS Tick-Borne Disease Advisory Committee: “With 476,000 people being diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease, in the US annually, patients and the public are entitled to know the truth about what past government research may reveal not only about the documented tick releases along the Atlantic bird flyway but also about research on the mysterious ‘Swiss agent’ which Dr. Willy Burgdorfer identified as a new Rickettsia strain in his work for the US Government– at Rocky Mountain Labs and in Switzerland. The book indicates there is speculation that this pathogen, if crossed with Borrelia, might well complicate treatment and thus be a candidate for biowarfare. There is the possibility that any uncovered information could lead to facts which could shed light on the current epidemic of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases (TBD) and perhaps lead to cures. We thank Congressmen Smith for his continued push to make the truth known and the US House of Representatives for their vote to approve the amendment. ”
Some things author Newby revealed for the first time in the book were: that ticks were developed and deployed as stealth biological weapons during the Cold War, and that Willy Burgdorfer, the scientist the Lyme bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, was named after, was at the center of this program. According to Newby, specific revelations she makes in book include:
A 1962 pilot study where infected ticks were dropped on Cuba sugar workers.
Releases of hundreds of thousands of radioactive, aggressive Lone Star ticks on the Atlantic coastal bird flyway.
Omissions of other microbes transmitted with Lyme-carrying ticks during the original outbreak (“Swiss Agent”).
Documentation of military studies where live disease-causing bacteria, some which can be spread by ticks, were sprayed from planes, boats and vehicles on the unsuspecting American public.
The Lyme Disease Association (LDA) encourages Lyme advocates, patients, and the public across the country to contact both of their US Senators to champion and support this amendment. After 45 years of Lyme disease, the truth must be uncovered.
On behalf of Pat Smith, Lyme Disease Association’s President, I am sharing this post at her request. Annie Mennella, LDA FB Moderator. 9/25/21
The Lyme Disease Association (LDA) has worked with Congressman Smith for 30 years trying to get answers on Lyme disease. The time is now ripe for this investigation to move forward and uncover Lyme’s murky origins, just as COVID’s origins are being examined. If an investigation is not done, we may never have any answers–answers which could even produce information that could help in determining treatments for TBDs or stopping their spread.
It is good news for the public and patients that In our fractured political environment, out of the 860 amendments offered for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), only 476 were made in order, and this one was included in the even smaller number actually passed. This shows a huge interest by government to explore this issue of Lyme and tick-borne diseases. Also, an amendment for a government investigation passed twice before in the House in 2019 and 2020. This time we all need to help persuade the Senate to keep this amendment when both Houses go to the conference committee to iron out Senate and House bill differences.
COVID Impacts on Lyme Disease Reporting
In a new study published by the CDC, Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic on Reported Lyme Disease, United States, 2020, authors describe how the impacts of COVID-19 might have influenced Lyme disease case reporting in 2020. Investigators explored 4 data sources to assess how the COVID-19 pandemic may have influenced reporting of Lyme disease cases in 2020. Surveys that were conducted indicate that residents in the United States spent more time in the outdoors in 2020 than in 2019, but that reports of tick bite–related ER visits and Lyme disease laboratory tests were fewer. Authors indicate that although outdoor exposures were higher, case reporting for Lyme disease in 2020 may have been “artificially reduced” due to changes in people’s medical care seeking behavior in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, many health departments were limited in resources to investigate Lyme disease case reports in 2020 due to the increased workload created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The LDA was started as an organization of patients and families of patients 30 years ago and continues to be so and has had an online doctor referral system for 15 years—a system which was the first automated referral for LLMDs doctors across the US who treat Lyme disease. The updated system provides a higher level of information, is easier to use, provides more searches and providers. The Lyme Disease Association thanks the LDA team and all those in the Lyme community who provided input into the system’s development by the Team for making this happen.
Launch of Columbia’s Cohen Center for Health and Recovery from Tick-Borne Diseases
A group of Columbia physicians, led by Brian Fallon MD, MPH, Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the director of Columbia’s Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center, continues with plans to dramatically expand their efforts in combating the growing threat of Lyme & TBD to public health in the US. Thanks to a $16 million gift from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, announced earlier this year, the group recently launched a new clinical program, the Cohen Center for Health and Recovery from Tick-Borne Diseases. The center, committed solely to the treatment of Lyme and similar conditions, such as anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, will be the first of its kind in New York City.
Columbia’s Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center* has been conducting critical research as well as specializing in treatment of the most complex cases. Cohen Center for Health and Recovery from Tick-Borne Diseases will provide clinical services to patients in all stages of disease, with a focus on helping those who suffer from chronic health complications that are likely the result of infections contracted months or even years prior. *(The Research Center was established in 2008 by the Lyme Disease Association Inc. and Time for Lyme [GLA]).
Dr. Fallon had this to say, “Tick-borne illnesses have long been shrouded in mystery, with scientists disagreeing on some of the most fundamental questions about how they affect the body, especially over the long term, … But there’s been a tremendous amount of scientific progress made in the past few years, and I think we’re finally ready to start translating that knowledge into safer, more effective treatments.”
NOTE from LDA President Pat Smith posted on March 30 about the announcement of the Cohen gift: “This is the best possible news for patients who have been neglected for decades by much of the medical community. Often unable to get a timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment, many patients have gone on to develop chronic Lyme disease, facing debilitating manifestations, which have prevented them from working or going to school and even causing death. Having a Treatment Center, a Clinical Trials Network, and a Research Center in one institution will certainly provide a three prong attack on a disease causing 476,000 people annually to be diagnosed and treated in the U.S.–Lyme disease–and allows for other tick-borne diseases to be addressed at the same time. ”
Moderna Vs. Pfizer: COVID-19 Vaccine Effectiveness
Findings of a recent study, Comparison of two highly-effective mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 during periods of Alpha and Delta variant prevalence, show that Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine appears to have a higher effectiveness rate compared with the Pfizer vaccine. This observational study was conducted from a Minnesota patient cohort in July 2021. Both vaccines appeared to be highly protective (Moderna 86%, Pfizer 76%) from January to July 2021, which was the period of time when the Delta variant first became predominant. However, the researchers observed the rates of protection for both vaccines dropped during the month of July 2021, and that the Moderna vaccine maintained higher protection than Pfizer (Moderna 76%, Pfizer 42%).
Investigators of this observational study conclude that further evaluation of the mechanisms of the two vaccines are warranted to understand the difference in protectiveness.
Read the full text MedRxiv observational study article here
Note:This article is a preprint and has not been peer-reviewed [what does this mean?]. It reports new medical research that has yet to be evaluated and so should not be used to guide clinical practice.
Prominent Researchers: The State of Lyme Disease: Progress & Challenges
Top Lyme disease researchers from across the United States have collaborated on a new publication, Recent Progress in Lyme Disease and Remaining Challenges. In this review article, researchers summarize the state of Lyme over the past 5 years, addressing major scientific advances as well as identifying remaining challenges and needs. Topics covered in the publication include diagnosis, testing, signs and symptoms of disease, treatment, genomics, vector transmission, pathogenesis, persistence of disease, and prevention and funding. The long-term impact of Lyme disease on patients has historically been controversial, however the authors present escalating evidence that supports the idea that a great number of patients experience persistent symptoms following treatment, and that this number continues to grow.
Necessary funding to support advancement in the scientific and clinical understanding of the disease, or to develop and evaluate innovative approaches for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment has been greatly lacking in the research community, and authors highlight the urgent need for more support. Although Lyme disease is a growing public health concern globally, this review article focuses primarily on the condition and resources of the United States.
Borrelia mayonii Spirochetes Observed on Blood Smear
B. mayonii is a relatively new species of Lyme causing pathogen that has only been detected in the Upper Midwest of the United States. It is considered a rare cause of Lyme disease and may frequently go undetected.
Mayo laboratories recently observed that spirochetes of the pathogen Borrelia mayonii can occasionally be visualized on routine blood smears, much like spirochetes of the Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever group. B. mayonii spirochetes are found at high levels in peripheral blood, whereas B. burgdorferi spirochetes are not. This understanding may raise awareness and recognition of the Lyme disease causing bacterium, and could lead to more consistent and accurate diagnosis of this cause of Lyme disease.