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Press Release

"Field Trials Show New Technology Able To Prevent Lyme Disease Transmission"

Candidate Oral Bait Vaccine Targets the Vector, Not Humans, to Interrupt Cycle of Transmission

PR Newswire

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Feb. 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A new technology has been shown to reduce the level of tick infection of Borrelia burgdorferi, the cause of Lyme disease. Study details were published online today in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, in advance of print publication.

The oral bait vaccine was distributed to white-footed mice, which account for the majority of the transmission of Borrelia. The mice created antibodies in response to the vaccine. When ticks later fed on the mice, the ingested antibodies killed the Borrelia and prevented the transmission of Lyme disease.

Lyme disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), affects over 300,000 people in the U.S. each year and can cause severe damage to joints and the neurologic system. The CDC recently linked Lyme disease with several deaths due to cardiac disease caused by Borrelia.

US BIOLOGIC is commercializing this technology.

About the Field Study
The field study results showed that mice in areas treated with the oral bait vaccine developed antibodies to Borrelia, and significantly fewer ticks became infected than in untreated areas. Since the risk of infection is directly related to tick infection rate, the risk of acquiring Lyme disease by humans in treated areas was likely reduced.

The prospective field trials were conducted over a five-year period in test and control fields located in New York. Test fields showed a significant reduction (i.e., 23%) in tick infection rate after the first year of treatment. By the fifth year of treatment, there was a 76% reduction in tick infection rate.

The CDC-sponsored field trials add real-world credibility to National Institutes of Health sponsored laboratory experiments showing protective efficacy of the vaccine in mice. The paper concludes "Strategic implementation of the intervention reported in this study would ultimately protect human populations from contracting B. burgdorferi in geographic regions where Lyme disease risk is high."

Addressing Emerging Infectious Diseases
"The CDC has long-acknowledged a 'One Health' approach to preventing infectious diseases by linking animal and human treatments," says US BIOLOGIC board director Tom Monath, MD. "US BIOLOGIC's oral bait vaccine is an important example of how a vaccine for animals, in this case the white-footed mouse reservoir of Lyme disease, can break the Lyme disease transmission cycle."

Dr. Monath is the former director of the CDC's Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, former Chief of the Virology Division with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, and has spent over 20 years in industry developing vaccines for humans and animals.

"The success of these field trials introduces a technology platform that can break the transmission of many diseases transmitted by animals," says US BIOLOGIC board member David Williams, former Chairman & CEO of Sanofi Pasteur, the world's largest vaccine provider. "Because of the large and growing number of cases, the focus on Lyme disease is a logical first step."

"Prevention is always a better option," says US BIOLOGIC board member Tommy G. Thompson, former Governor of Wisconsin and former Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. "The ability to disrupt the transmission early in the process is an exciting advancement to curtail this terrible disease."

US BIOLOGIC commercializes innovative solutions to disrupt the transmission of zoonotic diseases (diseases transmitted from animals to humans), which, according to the CDC, account for 75% of emerging infectious diseases. US BIOLOGIC has applied for USDA licensure of the product.

Journal Reference:
Meirelles Richer L, Brisson D, Melo R, Ostfeld RS, Zeidner NS, Gomes-Solecki M. Reservoir Targeted Vaccine Against Borrelia burgdorferi: A New Strategy to Prevent Lyme Disease Transmission. J Infect Dis. 2014 Feb 12. [Epub ahead of print]

Media Contacts:
Chris Przybyszewski


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