Scientists Discover A Naturally Occurring Antibiotic That Targets And Kills Just The Lyme Disease


We often read about it in journals, magazines, and newspapers. We see it on the news and hear about people who suffer from Lyme disease. But do you really know what it is? Do you its causes and why some are stricken by it?


What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease. At least this is true in the United States. The culprit behind is the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and sometimes, but very rarely, Borrelia mayonii. It is oftentimes transmitted to people through infected blacklegged tick bites that are sometimes unnoticeable. Once a person is hit with this, symptoms typically include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans.

While tick bites are normal, Lyme disease needs to be treated immediately. If not, infection can further spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. This can cause serious health problems and can sometimes, however rare it may be, fatal. Doctors are able to diagnose this based on symptoms, physical findings (such as a rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks.  Laboratory testing is required and if done by an expert, the methods use can be validated. As for the treatment, a few weeks of antibiotics use will be effective.

Good News Network

The good news is that there may be a better cure in the future. While Lyme disease is rarely fatal, the road to wellness isn’t always easy. Sometimes, it takes months or even years for the sufferer to regain full health. They’ll often have a mix of bad and good days, and when this happens over time, the people who suffer from it also find themselves falling deep into depression. Hence, health experts have been putting their heads together to find help that people can finally turn to.


The Process

Researchers have recently discovered naturally occurring antibiotics that have the ability to isolate the bacteria that causes Lyme disease and completely eradicate it. This means that the medicine simply targets the culprit without affecting the other parts of the body. This recent discovery potentially offering a new, effective, and revolutionary treatment for the pathogen in both humans and the natural environment in which they live.

The solution is called hygromycin A. This was what the researchers and scientists discovered when they looked in a screen of soil microbes. The soil was found to clear the infection of B. burgdorferi, the bacteria that is found in tiny worm-like parasites. When infected with this parasite, the humans experience the worst effects of the disease. The best part is that this antibiotic doesn’t harm the rest of the microbiome that they tested in live mice and human cells.

Lyme disease is debilitating. In fact, some people experience the effects of it for years and have been forced to stop working, as they are unable to. Statistics also show that Lyme disease affects around 500,000 Americans on a yearly basis. This costs an excess of $3 billion in medical care. What’s worse is that more is lost from lost labor hours. It drives a variety of pathologies, some minor and others major. This is principally treated by the use of non-selective antibiotics that happen to wreak havoc on the beneficial bacterial communities everyone carries on the skin and in the gut.

What the researchers did was inject the infected mice with B. burgdorferi, hygromycin A. This was administered twice a day for five days. Then, they used a PCR test which stimulates rapid replication of even single cells. They found that the treatment cleared every last trace of the infection without affecting the healthy microbes.

Moreover, in vitro tests were also made on human cells. They discovered that even at completely unnecessarily-high doses, the therapeutic index of the injection was in the same level as some of the safest over-the-counter medicines.

Hygromycin A has the capacity to target these worm-like spirochetes, which along with Lyme disease, also can cause other diseases. Another spirochete cleared by hygromycin A is what they called T. pallidum. This causes syphilis and is a notable recipient of antibiotic resistance.


The Super Drug and Miracle Cure

The broad-spectrum antibiotics that are available for treatment now, kills beneficial microbes. A study was made and the results show that these were be strongly linked with blooms of harmful bacteria cropping up in the dead spaces that left by antibiotics such as amoxicillin or doxycycline. The worst part is that the treatments have also led to antibiotic resistance in several common pathogens.

On the other hand, hygromycin A treatment resulted in an increase of harmless species such as lactobacillus. The authors of the paper wrote, “Lyme disease is on the rise and, in many locations, limits our ability to enjoy outdoor activities. A more permanent solution would require eradicating the source of the disease. We show that baits containing hygromycin A clear B. burgdorferi infection in mice, the principal host of the pathogen.”

The team also discovered more good news. That’s because they started to reason that because hygromycin A selectively targeted spirochetes, the tiny parasites mentioned in the previous paragraphs, it may also be possible to inoculate entire ecosystems against Lyme disease. That’s because they know that hygromycin A is a naturally-occurring soil microbe, and therefore already has an established place in the web of life that thrives in the terrestrial plane.

They made a reference to a study which looked at how a parasite bait that contains the common broad-spectrum doxycycline that was spread across an area. This had successfully eradicated the Lyme disease-causing pathogen in a whopping 87 percent of mice and 94 percent of ticks.

“This is far above levels required to reduce infection below the… the percentage of infected ticks and mice needed to sustain the infectious cycle in the wild,” the authors of the study noted. They further wrote, “Doxycycline, however, is an essential part of our shrinking antibiotic arsenal, and spreading it on large territory is unfeasible due to the risk of selecting for resistant micro-organisms. Hygromycin A, with its limited activity against non-spirochetal organisms, would make an ideal reservoir-targeted antibiotic against B. burgdorferi.“

If the study follows through, not only could they be on the right path when it comes to eliminating Lyme disease in humans, but maybe in the natural environment too. This, along with a variety of other enormous benefits, would finally grant people living in prone areas the freedom to wear shorts and t-shirts on a summertime hike once more. This alone, is worth its merit and very much a cause of celebration.