Lyme Disease treatment: Protein in human sweat effectively fights against the bacteria!

The Battle Against Lyme disease
The Battle Against Lyme disease. Credit | Getty images

United States: It seems that the world will be enlightened by the new dawn in the battle against Lyme disease, a tick-borne infection that ends with a chronic illness.

About the Study

Researchers at MIT and the University of Helsinki are investigating a protein found in human sweat that appears to combat the bacteria responsible for causing Lyme disease.

Published in the journal Nature Communications, the study indicates that one-third of the population carries a genetic variation of this protein.

Michal Caspi Tal, a principal research scientist at MIT’s Department of Biological Engineering and one of the senior study authors, stated, “This protein may provide some protection from Lyme disease, and we think there are real implications here for a preventative and possibly a therapeutic based on this protein,” as reported by the New York Post.

The scientists analyzed genetic material and medical histories from the blood of 7,000 Finnish individuals undergoing treatment for Lyme disease.

What Did the Scientists Observe?

Visual Representation. Credit | AP images

They were surprised to discover a secretoglobin called SCGB1D2 that outperformed bacteria in growth during their crucial findings.

Secretoglobins are proteins known to reduce lung damage, and this particular compound is released by sweat gland cells.

During their research, investigators incubated normal and disease-associated SCGB1D2 with the Lyme disease-carrying intracellular bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi.

They found that bacteria grew almost entirely in the case of the normal laboratory protein, while twice the amount of the mutated protein was needed to achieve similar results.

SCGB1D2 is a mouse protein that was mutated in the experiment. Its expression in other mice infected with the disease, but the expression of the mutated protein did not cause Lyme disease.

Tal remarked, “In the paper, we show they stayed healthy until day 10, but we followed the mice for over a month, and they never got infected,” adding, “This wasn’t a delay; this was a full stop. That was really exciting.”

By using data from 18,000 people with Lyme disease from researchers in Estonia, they confirmed the same results.

What more further research might reveal?

However, they do not yet understand how SCGB1D2 inhibits bacterial action or why this exon is less efficient due to the wrong sequence.

The protein is now being used to manufacture skin creams to prevent the disease and to cure antibiotic-resistant infections.

Tal emphasized, “We have fantastic antibiotics that work for 90% of people, but in the 40 years we’ve known about Lyme disease, we have not budged that,” as reported by the New York Post. He further added, “10% of people don’t recover after having antibiotics, and there’s no treatment for them.”

This discovery could potentially lead to new treatments and preventative measures for Lyme disease, offering hope to those who suffer from this debilitating illness.”