Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine have tested a new method to detect Lyme disease at the earliest stage of infection.
The team performed the tests on serum samples derived from three patients with undetected Lyme disease at the first visit of a doctor and diagnosed all patients with small amounts of the target protein, NIST said Feb. 11.
“Our hypothesis was that Lyme bacteria shed vesicle-like particles or fragments derived from the cell wall of the bacteria circulating in the serum of individuals,” said Larik Turko, NIST research chemist.
“These particles would contain membrane proteins that can be detected to provide a unique indicator of infection.”
NIST said the collaborators determined Lyme infection on two patients simultaneously with the experimental method and standard blood tests, while the disease was detected on the other patient with the experimental method three weeks before they confirmed the infection using the standard tests.
The team published the results of its study in an issue of Analytical Chemistry.