European biotechnology company Valneva SE (Valneva) announced today that an article, presenting for the first time the preclinical data of its novel vaccine candidate for prevention of Lyme borreliosis, was published in PLOS ONE, the largest scientific journal in the world by volume.

 Borrelia burgdorferi/CDC
Borrelia burgdorferi/CDC

The article entitled: “Design and development of a novel vaccine for protection against Lyme borreliosis” details for the first time Valneva’s Borrelia/Lyme borreliosis vaccine approach, with design, proof-of-concept studies and preclinical
data on protection.

The publication reveals that Valneva’s vaccine candidate, a multivalent, protein subunit based vaccine, has the potential to provide protection against the majority of Borrelia species pathogenic for humans. Lyme borreliosis is caused by at least four species of Borrelia and is transmitted via the bite of an infected tick. Delayed or inadequate treatment can lead to very serious symptoms, involving the joints, heart, and central nervous system, which can be disabling.

There is currently no vaccine available to protect humans against Lyme borreliosis, the most common vector-borne infection in the Northern hemisphere. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently presented an updated estimate of 300,000 cases annually in the US. This is almost a 10-fold increase to earlier estimations and would indicate that the disease is much more prevalent than previously thought. In Europe, 65,000–85,000 cases are reported annually based on notified cases and qualified estimates, but underreporting is known to be pronounced.

Renowned vaccinologist Stanley A. Plotkin, MD, professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania and creator of the rubella vaccine commented, “these pre-clinical data are an encouraging step towards a vaccine that is badly needed because of the huge number of Lyme disease cases in the USA and Europe”.