For many years, the typical treatment for Lyme disease was a course of antibiotics, which generally work to kill the infection. However, around 20% of people with Lyme disease do not respond to antibiotics, and the symptoms of cognitive impairment, fatigue, and muscle pain linger for years and sometimes decades.
A recent study by Stanford Medicine conducted in lab dishes and using mice produced evidence that the drug azlocillin can completely kill the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme. This gives hope to patients who have a Lyme infection that is impervious to other antibiotics.
“This compound is just amazing,” said Jayakumar Rajadas, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine and director of the Biomaterials and Advanced Drug Delivery Laboratory at the Stanford School of Medicine. “It clears the infection without a lot of side effects. We are hoping to repurpose it as an oral treatment for Lyme disease.”
Dr. Rajadas was the senior author of the study, while the lead author was research associate Venkata Raveendra Pothineni, Ph.D.
“We have been screening potential drugs for six years,” Pothineni said. “We’ve screened almost 8,000 chemical compounds. We have tested 50 molecules in the dish. The most effective and safest molecules were tested in animal models. Along the way, I’ve met many people suffering from this horrible, lingering disease. Our main goal is to find the best compound for treating patients and stop this disease.”
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