Improved Lyme Testing Allows for Earlier Diagnosis
It is well known to the medical community that Lyme disease testing methods are highly inaccurate. The only FDA approved Lyme tests available are antibody-based tests, which are the current standard, but are known to produce both false positives, and the more devastating false negatives. For example, it can take weeks for antibody levels to reach a point where they are detectable, resulting in a negative lab result. Many antibodies are cross-reactive to other bacteria not associated with Lyme disease, clouding diagnosis. These tests were created decades ago, with old technology, and omit important information.
Unfortunately, most medical providers rely solely on this flawed testing to make a diagnosis, and many Lyme cases go untreated, developing into serious health complications.
Addressing the issue, Steven Schutzer, a physician-scientist at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School organized a meeting of scientists from Rutgers University, Harvard University, Yale University, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health and other academic centers, industry and public health agencies. The meeting took place at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Banbury Center, a nonprofit research institution in New York. This meeting resulted in an analysis published on December 7 in Clinical Infectious Diseases which focuses on new scientific advances in testing.
“New tests are at hand that offer more accurate, less ambiguous test results that can yield actionable results in a timely fashion,” said Schutzer. “Improved tests will allow for earlier diagnosis, which should improve patient outcomes.”
We look forward to these new tests.