In new research, the researchers have found a narrow-spectrum antibiotic that is effective against Lyme disease. The research finding will help eradicate Lyme disease and protect people from developing chronic forms of the condition. Lyme disease is the most common type of indirect disease in the US, says CDC. The disease is caused due to bites from black-legged ticks that carry the infection.
A person develops this disease when bacteria pass on to them through ticks feeding on their blood. Bacteria can cause infection. The symptoms include headache, fever, rash, and fatigue. Without treatment, this disease can spread to the heart, joints, and nervous system, causing intense headaches, painful arthritis, facial palsy, and heart palpitations. Currently, there is no clear evidence that Lyme disease can pass from one human to another through physical contact, or it can spread through the air, food, water, or the bite of other insects.
In the US, each year, 476000 people are affected by this disease. With broad-spectrum antibiotics, this condition is treated. These are effective at fighting the disease. But broad-spectrum antibiotics reduces the diversity of a person’s gut microbiome. Previous research has shown that people who develop chronic Lyme disease have a distinct microbiome signature.
This indicates that chronic Lyme disease is partly due to the disruption of a person’s gut microbiome after receiving broad-spectrum antibiotics to treat the initial Lyme disease infection. The chances that antibiotic-resistant bacteria emerge are increased by the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics. Antibiotics are essential for saving the lives of people. The researchers behind this new study wanted to try and identify a narrow-spectrum antibiotic to treat Lyme disease.
Narrow-spectrum antibiotics are effective against far fewer microbes and are less likely to disrupt a person’s gut microbiome significantly. They are also less likely to encourage the emergence of microbes resistant to antibiotics. The researchers looked at compounds that are effective against B. burgdorferi, the most common bacteria that cause the disease.
A selective screening against B. burgdorferi was carried by the researchers. This identified the compound hygromycin A, an antimicrobial found in soil. Scientists didn’t care about the compound because it was fragile against common bacteria. The researchers of this new study discovered it is weak against common pathogens but exceptionally potent against B. burgdorferi.
The researchers are trying to find out compounds that would selectively kill B. burgdorferi. The researchers ran an experiment with mice infected with this disease. The mice were treated with hygromycin A to see if they could clear the bacteria. It was found that hygromycin A cleared the disease infection in the mice and was less disruptive to the mice’s gut microbiome than conventional broad-spectrum antibiotics. The research findings opened the possibility of both creating a highly targeted treatment for the disease in humans and eradicating the disease in the environment.
While the findings are promising, more research is necessary before specialists can use hygromycin A to treat Lyme disease in humans. Before hygromycin A can be considered for human therapy studies, including toxicity, pharmacokinetics, and further optimization of this antibiotic need to be done.