Participants will receive three doses of the vaccine, called VLA15, or a placebo, followed by a booster dose.
“As the global incidence of Lyme disease continues to rise, it’s more important than ever to provide a new option to help people protect themselves from the disease,” said Annaliesa Anderson, Pfizer’s senior vice president and head of vaccine research and development. .
Pfizer said in a statement that VLA15 is the only Lyme vaccine in clinical development. It targets the bacterium Borrelia burdorferi, the main cause of the tick-borne disease, and “has already demonstrated a robust immune response and an unsatisfactory safety profile in preclinical and clinical studies.”
If testing shows the vaccine is safe and effective, Pfizer says it could submit approval requests to the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency in 2025.
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and it’s spreading in more areas.
An estimated 476,000 Americans are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease each year, but the CDC believes this is likely an overestimate because people are sometimes treated without official confirmation of the disease.
The only vaccine sold in the US until now was discontinued in 2002.
Symptoms of Lyme disease
Fever, chills, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, neck stiffness, shortness of breath, headache, fatigue, and rash are typical symptoms of Lyme disease.
When you are bitten by a tick, you will usually see small red bumps that look like mosquito bites. But after 3 to 30 days, if that red spot starts to break out in a rash that gets bigger and looks a bit like a bull’s eye, that’s a sign you have Lyme disease.
Doctors call this rash migrant. Usually, it expands gradually. It is usually not itchy or painful, but the area may feel slightly warm to the touch.
Between 70% and 80% of people with Lyme disease develop this rash, and some appear on more than one area of the body.
If left untreated, the infection can spread to the joints, heart and nervous system, the CDC says. This can cause joint pain and swelling.
Swelling of the membranes surrounding the brain, temporary paralysis of one side of the face, and “brain fog”: forgetfulness or confusion may occur for several weeks to months.
How people get Lyme disease
Black-legged ticks, commonly known as deer ticks, carry Lyme disease. They live in the northeastern United States, the Mid-Atlantic Ocean, and the upper Midwest. The Western blacklegged tick, which carries Lyme disease, is found along the Pacific coast.
Most people get Lyme disease in the spring and summer. This is when the immature ticks, called nymphs, are most actively feeding, and this is when most people are out and about in the woodlands where they like to hang out in grasses and grasses.
What to do if bitten
Ticks can be tiny: Deer ticks can be as small as a pinhead, so look for them carefully.
Removing the tick within 24 hours reduces the risk of developing Lyme disease. The longer the tick sticks to the body, the more sick the person becomes. Hold the tick close to its mouth or neck and use tweezers to carefully pull it off. Then apply an antiseptic to the affected area.
If you are bitten and have symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. Even if you don’t have symptoms, you should still see a doctor.
Treatment of Lyme disease
In the early stages of Lyme disease, the standard treatment is oral antibiotics. A 14- to 21-day course is usually recommended, but some studies suggest that a 10- to 14-day course is equally effective, according to the Mayo Clinic.
If the central nervous system is affected, antibiotics may be given for 14 to 28 days. This treatment clears the infection, but symptoms may take longer to heal. Side effects of this treatment may include low white blood cell count, diarrhea, or infection with other antibiotic-resistant organisms unrelated to Lyme disease.
According to the Mayo Clinic, people who take antibiotics early in their illness generally make a full recovery. Patients treated for later infections may take longer to respond to treatment.
The CDC recommends wearing insect repellent with a concentration of at least 20% DEET and avoiding wooded areas with tall grass where ticks are common.
Check for ticks daily, and shower frequently if you spend a lot of time outdoors. Laundry detergent helps remove non-sticky mites.
Cover it when you are outside. Wear long sleeves, long pants and a hat when hiking or walking in the woods.
Your dogs and cats can also bring pests inside, so check them out and keep your yard tick-free. Clean the leaves and clean the places where ticks like to hide. Mow the grass.
More facts about ticks
These arachnids cannot fly or jump, but instead rest at the tips of grasses and bushes, waiting for a host – a mammal, bird, reptile or amphibian – to feed. They grasp leaves and grass with their lower legs, a condition known as “questering”.
The host will find a place to bite as the host passes by.
In addition to Lyme disease, at least 20 known medical conditions can be caused by tick bites.
CNN’s Elizabeth Landau contributed to this report.