- Lyme disease testing with new
technology allows for faster and accurate detection of the infection.
- It reduces the rate of false
positives by eliminating the cross-reactive antibodies that are produced
in response to other bacteria not associated with Lyme disease.
- Since the test is not antibody
based, it does not require time for the antibody levels to reach a certain
point of detection and can be caught earlier.
Effective, accurate and timely
detection of Lyme disease is now possible with the discovery of a new and
improved diagnostic test when compared to the available standard tests, suggest
experts. An analysis of the new diagnostic test was published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases
conducted by a large collaboration of research teams from Rutgers University,
Harvard University, Yale University, National Institute of Allergy and
Infectious Diseases of the NIH and other academic centers, industry and public
health agencies. The team suggests that the test is more accurate, detects
infection earlier and has lower false positives and false negatives.
is the most common tick borne infection in North America and
Europe caused by four main bacterial species. It is transmitted by the bite
of an infected black-legged tick, commonly known as a deer tick. Currently
there are over 300,000 cases of Lyme disease in the United States and the
disease is soon spreading into new regions.
Problem with the current tests of detection
The only tests approved by the FDA for
detecting Lyme disease are antibody-based tests that use technology that is
more than two decades old. The most common test to detect Lyme disease
infection is an antibody-based test called ELISA (Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay
When bacteria infect the host, the host produces antibodies against the
bacteria to fight the infection. Antibody-based tests rely on these host
produced antibodies to confirm bacterial infection.
takes anywhere from one to three weeks for the host to produce antibodies
upon infection and the test detects the disease only weeks after infection
allowing the disease to worsen. Moreover, antibody-based tests require a
certain amount of antibodies to be present in the blood for detection, which
might prolong diagnosis.
‘New diagnostic testing of Lyme disease helps detect the infection faster and more accurately improving patient outcomes.’
Additionally, it is important to note that
many people produce similar antibodies, termed cross-reactive antibodies, in
response to different bacteria. Therefore the antibodies detected by ELISA may
not be associated with Lyme disease, which makes the results confusing and
The new test
The study suggests that the new test can
detect infection before the associated health problems occur. The test is not
antibody-based and therefore does not require a minimum threshold for
Features of the new test:
- Increased accuracy
- Lower rate of false negatives and positives
- Earlier disease detection
- Not based on antibodies
"New tests are
at hand that offer more accurate, less ambiguous test results that can yield
actionable results in a timely fashion", said Steven Schutzer, co-author
and a physician-scientist at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, "Improved
tests will allow for earlier diagnosis which should improve patient
outcomes," Schutzer added.
- John A Branda, Barbara A Body, Jeff Boyle, Bernard M Branson, Raymond J Dattwyler, Erol Fikrig, Noel J Gerald, Maria Gomes-Solecki, Martin Kintrup, Michel Ledizet, Andrew E Levin, Michael Lewinski, Lance A Liotta, Adriana Marques, Paul S Mead, Emmanuel F Mongodin, Segaran Pillai, Prasad Rao, William H Robinson, Kristian M Roth, Martin E Schriefer, Thomas Slezak, Jessica Snyder, Allen C Steere, Jan Witkowski, Susan J Wong, Steven E Schutzer. Advances in Serodiagnostic Testing for Lyme Disease Are at Hand. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 2017; DOI: 10.1093/cid/cix943
- Overview Lyme Disease - (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lyme-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20374651)