Lyme disease is typically cured with antibiotics, and those affected never experience symptoms again. But for 20% of those who contract this illness, the antibiotics are ineffective, resulting in lingering symptoms that may stick around for years. Stanford University aims to fight this phenomenon through their studies of azlocillin. This drug has been proven to kill off all of the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, making it a viable treatment for those who didn’t see their symptoms resolve in the past. Stanford hopes that it will soon be available as an oral treatment.
About Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a vector-borne disease spread through ticks. These ticks spread the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. According to the CDC, there are 30,000 new cases reported annually.
Symptoms of this disease come in stages, and they progress depending on how long one has been infected. Three to 30 days after infection, a rash will appear at the site of the bite. Symptoms that follow include fever, chills, fatigue, headaches, pain in the muscles and joints, and swollen lymph nodes. In the days or months following infection, symptoms will evolve into severe headaches, additional rashes, neck stiffness, facial palsy, severe swelling and pain in the joints, arthritis, dizziness, shortness of breath, an irregular heartbeat, nerve pain, inflammation in the spinal cord and brain, shooting pains, numbness, tingling, and pain in the tendons, muscles, joints, and bones.
A diagnosis is obtained through the finding of characteristic symptoms, asking about exposure to ticks, ruling out other conditions, and various lab tests. A two step blood test will be conducted in order to confirm a diagnosis.
Rapid diagnosis is necessary for effective treatment. If it is caught during the early stages, antibiotics are a quick cure. People may also develop post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, which requires additional treatment. Preventing tick bites or removing them quickly is a good way to prevent Lyme disease as well.
Azlocillin is one of the 7,450 compounds that has been tested for the treatment of Lyme disease by researchers at Stanford University. They began their efforts for an effective medication in 2011, scouring thousands of compounds for a viable option. In 2016, azlocillin was one of the top 20 compounds they had studied. It was not until their most recent study that azlocillin was named the most effective treatment, as it does the best job of wiping out the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria while resulting in the least side effects.
Researchers hope to use this treatment as the first step after diagnosis, as it has shown to kill the entirety of the bacteria. They also believe that azlocillin will be effective for those who experience symptoms after receiving prior treatment. These beliefs come from the success of studies using mouse models. Azlocillin killed bacteria in these models seven, 14, and 21 days after the time of infection, and it was also shown to eliminate drug tolerant forms of the bacteria in lab dishes.
Stanford University hopes to conduct a clinical trial for this compound, as they have already filed for a patent and started work on an oral form. Those who experience lasting symptoms from Lyme disease may finally have a viable treatment option.
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