BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Researchers at Virginia Tech are one step closer to understanding the bacteria carried by ticks that cause Lyme disease.
Researchers discovered part of the bacteria’s cell wall can linger in the body of Lyme disease patients, resulting in inflammation.
They say protein associated with the cell wall can also “trick” patients’ immune systems. This will allow the bacteria to survive the body’s immune response.
“This discovery furthers our understanding of how Borrelia burgdorferi causes inflammation and disease,” said Mari Davis, who is the lead author on the paper, a former master’s graduate of the Jutras lab in the Department of Biochemistry in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “It is a testament to how unique this bacterium is — and how we need to keep working to understand more about what is going on behind the scenes in order to develop future diagnostics and treatments.”
Researchers say this brings them closer to testing and treating Lyme disease.