“We are extremely pleased to reach this important milestone in the development of VLA15. Lyme disease continues to spread, representing a high unmet medical need that impacts the lives of many in the Northern Hemisphere.”- Juan Carlos Jaramillo, Valneva’s Chief Medical Officer.
For hikers, this could be the best news of 2022. NPR reports that a Lyme Disease vaccine is entering the third phase of its clinical trial due to it creating a strong immune response in the prior tests. This final trial features six thousand people who are at least five years old and live in the United States and Europe. If approved, it would become the only Lyme Disease vaccine available in the United States.
Named VLA15, the vaccine is being made by Pfizer and French drugmaker Valneva, who are aiming to seek full authorization for the vaccine in 2025. Additionally, a monoclonal antibody is being developed by MassBiologics, with the first trial being completed in the next month. With ticks on the rise due to deforestation and climate change, remedies to Lyme disease are needed now more than ever.
A Lyme Disease vaccine was once available in the United States. Called LYMERix, it was highly effective but was withdrawn from the market twenty years ago. While it produced some severe side effects like arthritis, “analysis by the FDA and others did not support that conclusion.” The side effects led to the rate of usage dropping and were discontinued. This new vaccine omits a protein region that caused the side effects of LYMERix. There is still a tick vaccine that is available for dogs.
With this being developed, along with potential cancer and Alzheimer’s vaccines being researched and tested, it’ll be fascinating to see if vaccines become more prevalent for common ailments in society.