This drug could completely kill bacteria that causes Lyme disease, Stanford study shows

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In a recent study from Stanford University, after screening thousands of drugs, researchers have found one that completely eliminates the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

They found drug azlocillin not only kills off the disease-causing bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi at the beginning of the illness but could also effective for treating patients infected with drug-tolerant bacteria that may cause lingering symptoms.

The study is published in Scientific Reports. One author is Jayakumar Rajadas, an assistant professor of medicine and director of the Biomaterials and Advanced Drug Delivery Laboratory.

Lyme disease affects more than 300,000 people annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It can affect various organs, including the brain, skin, heart, joints and nervous system, and cause heart problems and arthritis if untreated. Symptoms include fever, headaches, chills, and muscle and joint pain.

For decades, the routine treatment for Lyme disease has been standard antibiotics, which usually kill off the infection.

But for up to 20% of people with tick-borne illness, the antibiotics don’t work, and lingering symptoms of muscle pain, fatigue, and cognitive impairment can continue for years—sometimes indefinitely.

The team began hunting for a better alternative in 2011. In 2016, they listed 20 chemical compounds, from about 4,000, that were most effective at killing the infection in mice.

All 20 had Food and Drug Administration approval for various uses. One, for instance, is used to treat alcohol abuse disorder.

In the current study, azlocillin, one of the top-20 contenders, eclipsed 7,450 compounds because of it’s effective in killing B. burgdorferi and causes fewer side effects.

The team says the compound is just amazing. It clears the infection without a lot of side effects.

Traditional antibiotics, such as doxycycline, are effective as an early course of treatment for the infection in the majority of patients but fail to treat 10% to 20% of patients

The researchers hope to repurpose it as an oral treatment for Lyme disease. They have patented the compound for the treatment of Lyme disease and are working with a company to develop an oral form of the drug.

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