A vaccine which could protect against Lyme disease is in the pipeline.
The condition is caused by a bacteria which is carried by ticks and relentlessly attacks the nervous system.
Now, French drug manufacturer Valneva has completed the first-ever human trial of a vaccine against the disease.
The developers claim the immunisation jab could be up to 96 per cent effective and that it could be widely available in just five years.
Each year, thousands of people around the world contract Lyme disease. Supermodel Bella Hadid (left) and Zoolander actor Ben Stiller (right) are both sufferers of the condition. The first human trial of a vaccine against the condition was successful and could be available by 2023
Each year, thousands of people around the world contract the illness, including around 3,000 Brits.
The number of cases is on the rise, with Europe seeing a 14 per cent increase year-on-year.
David Lawrence, Valneva’s chief financial officer, told The Sunday Telegraph that it was investing £262 million ($350 million) into development of the vaccine.
It is hoped that the vaccine will be available on the NHS as Valneva aims to manufacture it at a relatively low cost.
The vaccine will work by kick-starting the person’s immune system to produce antibodies to directly attack the bacteria.
By targeting the gut of the tick as it is eating human blood, the idea is that the bacteria hiding inside the insect will therefor be unable to enter the person’s blood.
The early trial found the vaccine to be between 71.4 and 96.4 per cent effective.
The condition is caused by a bacteria (Borrelia Burgdorferi) and is carried by ticks. Common symptoms include fever, headache and a ring-shaped rash that resembles a bullishness (stock)
So far, there has also been ‘no associated safety concerns’ for patients given the vaccination.
Whilst the omens seem positive for a future vaccine, the company is also focusing on increasing its protection rate.
Billionaire founder of Phones4u, John Caudwell, is a high-profile advocate of the fight against this disease.
WHAT IS LYME DISEASE?
Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria that is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks.
The most common symptoms of the disease are fever, headache, fatigue and a skin rash called erythema migrans.
The disease can typically be treated by several weeks of oral antibiotics.
But if left untreated, the infection can spread to the joints, heart and nervous symptoms and be deadly.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU ARE INFECTED?
During the first three to 30 days of infection, these symptoms may occur:
- Muscle and joint aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Erythema migrans (EM) rash
The rash occurs in approximately 80 percent of infected people.
It can expand to up to 12 inches (30 cm), eventually clearing and giving off the appearance of a target or a ‘bull’s-eye’.
Later symptoms of Lyme disease include:
- Severe headaches and neck stiffness
- Additional EM rashes
- Arthritis with joint pain and swelling
- Facial or Bell’s Plasy
- Heart palpitations
- Problems with short-term memory
- Nerve pain
The businessman and philanthropist started a charity, called Caudwell LymeCo, to try and defeat what he has called ‘one of the most dangerous illnesses to mankind’.
In 2015, Mr Caudwell revealed the condition has ripped through his entire family, affecting himself, his ex-wife and their three children.
Chief executive of the charity, Veronica Hughes, said: ‘It would be fantastic if it turns out to be a safe vaccine.’
Mr Lawrence claims the vaccine will cover all of the six different strains that cause the vast majority of cases.
The condition is caused by a bacteria (Borrelia Burgdorferi) and is carried by ticks.
Common symptoms include fever, headache and a ring-shaped rash that resembles a bullishness.
HOW DOES THE HADID FAMILY BATTLE LYME DISEASE?
Lyme disease impacts hundreds of thousands of people every year and some of the most high-profile individuals belong to the same family.
This family includes Yolanda Foster and her children, two daughters and one son.
The Hadid children are all stars in their own right and two of them, Bella and Anwar, suffer from Lyme disease, much like their mother.
Gigi is the only one to not have the suffer with Lyme disease.
Yolanda, star of Desperate Housewives and an ex-model, has been a prominent figure in raising awareness of the invisible illness.
In a previous interview, the mother of three revealed that the pain and discomfort was so severe she contemplated suicide.
Her youngest daughter, Bella, is most well-known for her catwalk displays and for gracing the cover of glossy magazines.
Diagnosed in 2012 as a teenager, she has previously stated that she had dreams to reach the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro as a show jumper.
Unfortunately, the debilitating illness left her unable to ride and shattered her hopes of becoming an Olympian.
Bella has severe symptoms which not only stopped her riding, but continue to sap her energy as an adult.
In an interview with the BBC, she said that Lyme disease makes modelling difficult.
Anwar Hadid is the youngest of the three children and, like his two older sisters, is a professional model.
The 18-year old also has Lyme disease, and his mother has previously said he copes with the effects of the disease well.
Undergoing ozone treatment, Anwar responds well and has minimal symptoms, according to a blog post by Ms Foster.
Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria which is carried by ticks and relentlessly attacks the nervous system.
Effects can often be far more severe, with some long-term implications lasting several years leaving patients bed-bound with little to no energy.
High-profile sufferers of the disease include supermodel Bella Hadid, pop-star Shania Twain and actors Alec Baldwin and Ben Stiller.
Ms Hadid claims she had to abandon hope of becoming an Olympic show-jumper after contracting the condition.