Lyme Disease: an immuno-deficiency disease?

The following article is by guest writer Carolyn.

Carolyn is a patient not a doctor, and the information contained in this article should not be interpreted as medical advice.

Carolyn discussses some evidence for the alterations in the immune system that Lyme disease can cause, as a mechanism for antibiotic resistance.

Elisa + Western Blot can still show a false negative as shown by Elispot

In my own experience, as a patient who was bitten in my teens (25 years ago) and who eventually tested for Lyme last year through Armin Labs, both Elisa and Western Blot testing showed “negative”, but a subsequent Elispot test showed “positive” and CD57 cells test low, indicating late stage Lyme disease.  I suspect I am not producing any antibodies at this point, having in all likelihood had the bacteria for so long that for someone like me neither the Elisa nor the Western blot will necessarily show a positive.

When asked by other people interested in testing for suspected long term Lyme, I personally now always suggest to go straight to the Elispot and CD57 cells tests.  However, this does not of course align with the testing protocol used by the NHS, so we really do need harmonisation of approach.

Research in vitro suggests doxycycline may not eradicate Lyme bacteria but instead cause a shift to round body form

The standard treatment protocol for Lyme on the NHS is typically a course of doxycycline.  However, the research of Eva Sapi, one of the leading Lyme researchers in the world, shows that doxycycline (at least in vitro) reduced the spirochetal form of Borrelia by 94% but increased the round body form twofold.

This suggests that persistence could potentially arise from using single antibiotic treatments such as doxycycline because the bacteria are not eradicated but simply shift forms.  Download the research paper here.

Further recent research identifies the drugs which may be most effective at least in vitro against the round body forms.

Is it all about immune restoration rather than just antibiotics?

This link to an excellent article by Dr Kaslow suggests that treatment approaches for viruses and chronic infections might helpfully include seeking to restore balance to the immune system by influencing cytokines, through diet and other supplementation.

There is currently disagreement between some of the leading Lyme practitioners about whether Lyme disease is a Th1 or Th2 dominant condition, but in personal experience, as someone with late stage Lyme disease, I find significant benefit from Th1 strengthening supplements, which leads me to suspect in my own case I may have a shift to Th2.

Photograph by Adam Hughes

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