Combination antibiotics could treat Lyme disease

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Researchers at Tulane University have made a noteworthy discovery in the fight against Lyme disease, a condition transmitted through tick bites.

Lyme disease is a significant health issue, especially in North America, where it affects over 476,000 people each year.

Although most people recover after a short course of antibiotics, some develop chronic symptoms known as post-treatment Lyme disease. This can happen if the treatment is delayed or not effective enough.

The study was led by Monica Embers, Ph.D., an associate professor of microbiology and immunology. Her team conducted experiments using mice to test various antibiotics, both alone and in combinations. They aimed to see which treatments were most effective.

Interestingly, they found that single antibiotics were not entirely successful in getting rid of the infection after 28 days of treatment. However, several combinations of drugs that are already approved by the FDA showed promising results.

These combinations included four dual antibiotic pairs (doxycycline with ceftriaxone, dapsone with rifampicin, dapsone with clofazimine, and doxycycline with cefotaxime) and three triple combinations (doxycycline, ceftriaxone, and carbomycin; doxycycline, cefotaxime, and loratadine; dapsone, rifampicin, and clofazimine).

These combinations successfully cleared the persistent infection.

Dr. Embers explained that Lyme disease is tricky because the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes it, can hide in organs soon after infection.

The results of this study are significant because they suggest that combination antibiotic therapies could be more effective in treating Lyme disease, particularly in cases where the infection persists despite standard treatment.

This research is a major step forward in understanding how to treat persistent Lyme disease more effectively.

It opens up new possibilities for treatment strategies, potentially offering relief to those who suffer from the long-term effects of this complex and often debilitating disease.

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The research findings can be found in Frontiers in Microbiology.

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