mRNA-lipid nanoparticle Vaccine Against Lyme Proposed

The Molecular Therapy Journal (Pine M., et al.) 08.01.2023, published “Development of an mRNA-lipid nanoparticle vaccine against Lyme disease.” In this study, scientists propose using a new method called “mRNA-LNP” to create a Lyme disease vaccine, similar to the successful COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccine would target a specific protein in the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi that causes Lyme disease, called OspA. This protein is found on the surface of B. burgdorferi and is essential for its survival in ticks. By targeting this bacterium, the vaccine aims to prevent the bacteria from infecting humans when bitten by ticks.

In 1998, there was an alum-adjuvanted recombinant OspA protein vaccine release called LYMErix™, that showed to decrease Lyme disease by 75% within a year, but the vaccine was removed from the market in 2002, just four years after its release. Since then, there has been no FDA-approved vaccine for Lyme disease, while cases continue to rise.

The mRNA-LNP vaccine platform developed for the COVID-19 vaccines produced “potent antibody and cellular immune responses in both animals and humans.” In this study, an Austrian pharmaceutical company called Valneva, in partnership with Pfizer, has developed a nucleoside-modified mRNA-LNP vaccine for Lyme disease that has begun phase III efficacy studies.

In this study, mice were given either the OspA protein vaccine (the same type as LYMErix™), or the new developing OspA mRNA-LNP vaccine. The results showed that the mRNA-LNP vaccine induced a stronger and more diverse immune response in the mice compared to the protein vaccine. This immune response provided protection against the Lyme disease bacteria and showed to generate long-lasting antibodies in the mice.

Overall, the study shows promising results for the development of a Lyme disease vaccine using the mRNA-LNP platform. However, more research and clinical trials are needed before it can be approved for use in humans. If successful, this vaccine could be a significant step in preventing Lyme disease and reducing its impact on public health.

For more information:

Read the full article on the National Library of Medicine website here.

Read more about vaccines on the LDA website here.

Read more on a Tick Vaccine Reduces Lyme Transmission on the LDA website here.

Read more about Results of Lyme Vaccine Phase 1 Study on the LDA website here.