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Video: Preventive shot for Lyme disease, now in clinical trial, explained

By Bryan Goodchild

UMass Medical School Communications

March 11, 2021

A pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent Lyme disease, developed at MassBiologics of UMass Medical School and now being tested in a year-long human clinical trial, could be ready for licensure in about two and a half years, according to Mark Klempner, MD, executive vice chancellor for MassBiologics and professor of medicine.

“Our medicine is a transmission-blocking medicine and it actually treats the tick and blocks the tick from depositing those bacteria in you by actually killing or immobilizing the bacteria in the gut of the tick,” said Dr. Klempner in a new UMassMed News video, explaining how Lyme PrEP works.

The seasonal shot prevents infection by delivering a single, human anti-Lyme antibody, or blood protein, directly to a person rather than triggering their own immune system to make many antibodies as vaccines do. Klempner said bringing the seasonal shot to trial is an accomplishment based on years of research.

“For me, personally, this is a milestone as a physician-scientist you work many years for,” he said. “It’s also very gratifying because I have a lot of people I know who have been directly affected by Lyme disease.”

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