Thank anti-vaxxers for Lyme

The Lyme vaccine fault lines have been re-exposed in recent months as Austrian researchers reported a preliminary study examining a novel Lyme vaccine in the medical journal Lancet Infectious Disease. They administered the vaccine to 300 volunteers and showed a strong suggestion that the vaccine will be effective and not harmful.

Good news, right?

Think again. The finding was immediately pounced upon by members of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (of Bethesda Maryland). They wrote a scathing critique of the findings, harkening back to the Original Sin in Lyme vaccine history, LYMErix™. Seizing on (well-earned) distrust of Big Pharma, they claimed that safety data was withheld, that a plausible biologic path to chronic arthritis from both the vaccine and the disease was already well-established, and that LYMErix™ was withdrawn not because the company chickened out, but because the move protected it from even more lawsuits.

In response, the Austrian investigators and the American expert, Dr. Paul Lantos, who had written a hopeful editorial entitled, “Lyme disease vaccine: Are we ready to try again?” refuted the claims, pointing out the thorough review of the data conducted by the FDA found no evidence of increased risk of arthritis.