The test is based on a multifaceted approach: it is no longer one but six biomarkers that are sought.
Diagnosing Lyme disease is complicated: symptoms are difficult to identify and can appear within 30 days of being bitten by a tick. A research team from the University of Arizona is now offering a new, more effective and faster screening test. She presents it in the journal Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology.
A disease with multiple consequences
Lyme borreliosis is transmitted by infected ticks. The appearance of a red plaque around the bite is the first symptom, sometimes accompanied by fever, muscle and / or joint pain. If left untreated, the disease then causes arthritis and various lesions (cutaneous, cardiac or neurological).
When the symptoms appear early enough, the diagnosis may be easier because the bite mark is still present. Otherwise, doctors use serological tests, but many professionals consider them insufficiently reliable. In this new research, the team chose to change their approach: instead of looking for a marker for Lyme disease, they test six, which can potentially indicate contamination. "A unique test makes us miss many patients," says lead author Joshua LaBaer. This new test is based on the use of different forms of examinations and different techniques such as mass spectrometry or immunoprecipitation. The first makes it possible to identify molecules by measuring their mass and the second makes it possible to identify proteins at levels that are not detectable by other techniques. For now, the test has only been performed on animal models, researchers hope to test soon on humans.
Lyme disease affects around 27,000 people each year in France.