Vaccines work like this: We’re injected with controlled doses of disease-causing microbes, either dead or live, and our system creates antibodies to fight the disease. Those antibodies linger in our bloodstream so when we encounter the microbes later on, we’re ready to respond.
But what if we could just pump the antibodies straight into our system? That’s a proposal being studied at UMass Medical Center, as reported in BizJournals.com:
Giving the patient the antibody, as opposed to introducing the bacteria to the patient for the body to develop its own antibodies, enables a person to become instantly immune to Lyme versus forcing the body to manufacture its own antibodies in response.
Unlike mosquitos, which carry disease on their needle-like snouts, ticks carry disease in their guts. It takes at least a day and a half for the bacteria to mobilize from the gut into the salivary glands and transfer into a human through a bite. Researchers discovered that when ticks bite those who have been given the antibody, the antibody enters the tick’s gut and kills the bacteria, stopping the disease before it even is transmitted to the human.
There’s such a gigantic market for a Lyme disease vaccine that I’m surprised more places are rushing to develop one – especially since one does exist for dogs. The human variant was pulled from the market, mostly because of lawsuits from people who had reactions.