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Produce Lyme Vaccine?

December 10th, 2014
ideas, medical, lyme  [html]

Lyme disease is pretty bad. Many of my friends have had it, ranging from something that was rough for a while but got better all they way out to several who now have a major chronic illness on their hands. Most of these people I know through dancing, and when a lot of your social life is built around a physical activity it's especially bad to lose it. [1]

What really gets me, though, is there's a vaccine. It was approved by the FDA as safe and effective, and it was on the market from 1998 to 2002. There were some people who reported side-effects from the vaccine, but the FDA looked into these reports (doc, pdf) and determined there wasn't reason to believe the vaccine was causing these problems. Still, there was a large media storm, people stopped asking for the vaccine, and its manufacturers stopped making it.

What would it take to get someone to make this vaccine again? Would GlaxoSmithKline make it again if we could raise enough interest? They're big enough, however, that they might not think lawsuit exposure was worth it. On the other hand, the patent appears to have expired a couple months ago, so they're not the only option anymore. I'm sure there are many regulatory steps you have to go through before you can start making a generic drug, but how much money are we talking about? Is this within the range of what could be kickstarted?


[1] And this isn't just a coincidence; most of them have gone to the same dance camp which is in a heavily forested area with very high lyme disease levels. The camp pushes people to check for ticks, but it's hard to get yourself to stay up looking over yourself when you've had a long day of dancing and are super tired. Plus people just miss things, and ticks, nymphs especially, are really small.

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