Lyme borreliosis or Lyme disease is an infectious disease that is caused by Borrelia bacterium. This disease is spread by ticks and hence, people living near grassy and heavily wooded areas are most likely to get affected. Common symptoms include expanding area of redness on the skin, which appears at the site of the bite, about 1-2 weeks after it occurs.
While Lyme disease is completely curable, there have been cases where medicines and other medical methods have failed to help patients. Such situations arise when the infection is detected at a later period, thereby letting the bacterium grow. For a long time, scientists were unable to determine the reason for the failure. It was the Northeastern University researchers who found the answer. According to them, the bacterium which causes this disease was able to form dormant persister cells, which could evade the antibiotics.
Once this confusion was solved, Professor Kim Lewis, Northeastern University Distinguished Professor, who led the Northeastern research team, came up with the solution. After their detailed research, they put forward two alternatives. The first alternative was to use an anti-cancer agent called Mitomycin C. This agent was capable of swiping off all cultures of Borrelia bacterium in just one attempt. Though the process was successful, Prof. Lewis stressed highly in the research paper that the toxicity of Mitomycin C is at a level that makes it unsafe to be recommended for treating Lyme disease.
The second alternative was a much simpler one. This method is more practical, where a patient is requested to take four rounds of the medication. The logic behind this was that, when the antibiotics are initially introduced, it killed the growing cells but not the dormant persister ones. However, it did not leave them unchanged. The antibiotics helped waking up the dormant cells and therefore, when the patients were once again hit with the same antibiotics, it completely eradicated the foreign cells.
Teena Rose Tom