A revolutionary new approach to preventing tick and mosquito-borne diseases has proven to be a success in recent studies.
The battle against some of the most crippling pathogenic diseases like Lyme disease is set to take a promising turn now that a new vaccine that targets the microbiomes of mosquitos and ticks has proven successful.
While it could be years before the vaccine will be given the go-ahead for human use, the great news is that animals like dogs, cats, and livestock could be immunised, saving owners massive vet bills.
A game-changing vaccine – hope for the future
A new groundbreaking vaccine, which has proven successful on mice in recent studies, could positively impact the future of tick and mosquito-borne diseases.
The innovative vaccine, which disrupts the microbes that the pathogen relies on for survival rather than targeting the pathogen directly, could be a game changer for pets, livestock and, in the future, humans.
This development could save pet owners thousands of dollars in veterinary bills and have great potential for owners of livestock who depend on healthy animals for their livelihood.
While it could take up to ten years for a vaccine to become available for humans, a similar vaccine tailored to animals looks very promising, which could halt debilitating pathogenic diseases.
Lyme disease – a tick-borne disease
The recent findings could significantly impact putting a halt to many pathogenic diseases, particularly Lyme disease, a well-known and much-feared tick-borne disease.
This disease can be transmitted to humans and animals through the bite of infected ticks, leaving the victim weakened and bedridden for years.
Caused by the Borrelia genus, Lyme disease comes with many symptoms like fever, skin rash, headaches and overall fatigue.
Researchers using mice as test subjects have taken a new approach in the fight against such diseases and have previously discovered that Borrelia pathogens can manipulate a tick’s gut microbiome to their advantage.
Scientists take a unique approach – remarkable findings
During the study, researchers vaccinated the mice with harmless E. coli bacteria, which triggered an immune response in the tick’s gut.
This response significantly reduced the presence of Escherichia-Shigella, a typical bacterium found within the guts of both mice and humans.
The remarkable result was that the reduction in this bacterium crippled the abilities of Borrelia afzelii, one of the pathogens that cause Lyme disease, to thrive within the tick host and, thus, safeguard the mice.
Further research – the fight against more diseases
The vaccine is part of a rapidly growing class of drugs tested to combat malaria and its plasmodium-causing pathogens using the same unique technique.
Last year, scientists achieved impressive results with a vaccine targeting Enterobacteriaceae, given to domestic canaries.
The vaccinated birds showed a gut microbiome hostile to the Plasmodium relictum Malaria strain. Dr Alejandro Cabeza Cruz shared his insights into the new vaccine developments. “These antimicrobiota vaccines are interesting for other pathogens because they specifically target the vector microbiota”.
He added, “As the microbiota is essential for many vector-borne pathogens, this approach could target a wide range of diseases, whether caused by viruses, parasites, or bacteria.”
These immunisation strategies could impact disease control and prevention, especially for Lyme disease, Malaria and other pathogenic diseases.
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