Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Center’s recently released Winter 2021 Newsletter addresses the confusing new IDSA guidelines and calls attention to the similarities between common COVID-19 long hauler symptoms and persistent Lyme disease symptoms. It also provides insights into significant advances made by their Lyme disease clinical research program, despite challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Provided is an overview of how the new IDSA guidelines fail to clarify confusion regarding the diagnosis and effective treatment of persistent symptoms in Lyme disease or how to productively approach the various divergent subsets of chronic Lyme disease (CLD). The authors cite extensive peer-reviewed, evidence-based research, led by the Johns Hopkins SLICE studies, “that elucidate clinically significant persistent symptoms and reveal measurable biologic differences in patients with post treatment Lyme Disease (PTLD), a clearly defined and diagnosable subgroup of CLD patients.”
Drawing on the similarities between COVID-19 long haulers and persistent symptoms in Lyme disease, such as severe fatigue, cognitive symptoms, and pain, the Hopkins authors call attention to potential common mechanisms of illness, such as infection-induced changes in the autonomic nervous system and immune system.
Also included is an outline “connecting the dots” in Lyme disease research with an overview of the multiple deleterious impacts that Lyme patients often struggle with, including disrupted immune function, and impacts on the gut microbiome and metabolic response. The authors emphasize the important role these findings play in better understanding the disease’s complex biologic mechanisms in providing innovative, targeted, and improved diagnostics and treatment approaches.
LDA has been given permission to share Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Center’s Winter 2021 Newsletter