Friday, 24 April 2015


A Big Thank you to Chris Packham for launching The Big Tick Project.
'UK Vets launch Big Tick Project to track rising threat of Lyme Disease'

'Throughout spring and early summer when ticks are most active, vets taking part in the Big Tick Project will be giving dogs visiting their practice a tick check. 
The ticks collected by vet practices will be sent for testing to the team of scientists at Bristol University leading the Big Tick Project. 
The team, led by Professor Richard Wall, will be examining the ticks for the presence of Lyme Disease and other tick-borne diseases which it is feared may be emerging in the UK.
Owners whose dogs have taken part in the project at participating vets will receive a Big Tick Project certificate and have helped advance the knowledge surround tick-borne disease in the UK.'

BBC Breakfast started the day 

The more awareness the better the public is prepared to protect themselves and their pets.

Science is still emerging and past opinions are being proved wrong, this Big Tick Project is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness and find out more about ticks and their infections.

Only recently a study done on Grey Squirrels in the North of England and Scotland found that 'Around 12% of the collected squirrels were infected, most commonly by a species of Borrelia usually found in birds.' -- 'Lead researcher Caroline Millins, from the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine at the University of Glasgow, said: "Frequent infection of grey squirrels with bird strains of Borrelia was unexpected, and challenges our current understanding of host pathogen interactions for this zoonotic pathogen.'

Questions being asked - do the current tests used actually pick up this species of Borrelia response from Lyme Disease Action - 'Not as simple as testing for 1 sp or another. UK tests used will detect B garinii infections, but none of the tests are perfect. Serology is an imprecise tool see

As an advocate for patients with Lyme Disease who has seen many media campaigns fail to get even basic information across correctly - how do we get that all so important message across to doctors and the public that there is an over reliance on antibody tests for Lyme disease in early and also late disease?

Saturday, 4 April 2015


Drug Combinations against  Borrelia burgdorferi  Persisters  In Vitro : Eradication Achieved by Using Daptomycin, Cefoperazone and Doxycycline

Once again we have to thank Prof. Ying Zhang for yet a further study on drug combinations against Borrelia Burgdorferi persisters. 

'Daptomycin plus doxycycline and cefoperazone eradicated the most resistant microcolony form of B. burgdorferi persisters and did not yield viable spirochetes upon subculturing, suggesting durable killing that was not achieved by any other two or three drug combinations.'
'As shown in our previous study [16], the stationary phase culture was enriched with morphological variants such as round body form and biofilm-like aggregated microcolony form in increasing proportions in contrast to individual spirochetes found in log phase culture'

This is interesting - 'We also found that miconazole, an imidazole antifungal drug, had high activity against B. burgdorferi persisters when combined with doxycycline and cefoperazone (Table 2). Miconazole has been shown to alter the integrity of lipid membrane [27] and therefore may facilitate the penetration of other drugs such as doxycycline and cefoperazone for improved activity against B. burgdorferi persisters '

Note - 'It is worth noting that short term incubation in subculture studies of antibiotic treated B. burgdorferi is not sufficient to assess the stable eradication of persisters'

'In conclusion, we found there is a hierarchy of B. burgdorferi persisters with increasing antibiotic tolerance as the culture ages from log phase to stationary phase with morphological changes from spirochetal form to round body and microcolony forms. Importantly, we identified drug combinations that have high activity against B. burgdorferi persisters with daptomycin-containing combinations achieving the best activity. The most effective drug combination used daptomycin, cefoperazone and doxycycline which appeared to render resistant microcolony forms of B. burgdorferi unable to resuscitate viability upon subculture, a feature not previously described using any other antibiotic singly or in combinations. While important to state that the role of any persister organisms in human disease is far from elucidated, these findings may have implications for the treatment of certain Lyme disease patients with slow to resolve- or antibiotic-refractory arthritis or possibly stubborn ongoing symptoms. Direct extrapolation of these in vitro findings to human treatment would be unwise and premature. Future studies are needed to confirm whether such combination drug therapy yields benefit in animal models and possibly then in clinical studies.'

Earlier posts on work by Prof Zhang

Lyme Disease Action have done a report of this recent study

Prof Ying Zhang is due to present at this year's LDA conference

To quote Dr Brian Fallon from the recent PHE meeting talking about emerging research 'it is exciting times'.  
he also said that there were a few interesting tests in the pipeline.
It is interesting to read that Dr Fallon is involved with this research follow the links from this link

Good tests and treatment options for Borrelia persisters could well be on the horizon and not before time. Then maybe they will get down to identifying and looking at better supportive therapies for other co factors causing our health problems.


A patient speaking at the Public Health Meeting about Lyme Disease held on 29th March 2015 with kind permission to post.

The earlier report of the meeting is posted - 

Good afternoon everyone.

I am Demetrios Loukas.

Together with my local MP and Minister of Justice, The Rt. Hon. Simon Hughes, I, with the help of Denise Longman who is too ill to be here today, organised the first patient-led parliamentary conference which took place on the 19th January earlier on this year.

The Rt. Hon. Simon Hughes has been following my struggle to obtain adequate treatment for Lyme disease for the past 4 years. After he attended the Worldwide Lyme protest in London last May, he was moved by the plight of so many desperate patients who have been let down by the NHS. He learned that it’s not just the diagnostics that are failing patients but that the treatment offered to those who are lucky enough to test positive is in many cases, failing to eradicate this infection. The consequence of this failure to reliably detect and treat this disease is leaving an untold number of patients like me undiagnosed with chronic debilitating symptoms.

An earlier diagnosis would have saved me a lot of money as well as the Department of Work and Pensions and the NHS. I, like many others, tested negative on the NHS only to find out through a private laboratory in Germany that I that was in fact infected with Lyme Borreliosis and several co-infections. After receiving several long courses of antimicrobial therapy, I am now on the road to recovery; otherwise I would not be here today.

Our patient-led initiative which has been championed by The Rt. Hon. Simon Hughes has procured 1092 signatures approving Dr. Armin Schwarzbach and Dr. Chris Newton as their scientists of choice to work with Dr. Tim Brooks and his team at Porton Down.

For those of you who do not know, Dr. Schwarzbach is both a scientist and a physician, renowned throughout Europe for his expertise in Lyme diagnostics and treatment. Dr. Newton is a research and development scientist with experience in both academia and industry. Furthermore, he is an expert in drug development for the treatment of cancer and chronic disease.
I have come here today to whole-heartedly thank Dr. Tim Brooks for attending the parliamentary conference and for communicating so openly and without hesitation with the Rt. Hon. Simon Hughes and the patient-led initiative’s scientific and medical delegates.

I would like to take this opportunity to commend Dr. Brooks for personally engaging with the patient-led initiative and for inviting Dr. Schwarzbach and Dr. Newton to Porton Down in June to discuss how the current diagnostics used to detect Lyme Borreliosis can be improved.

I would like close my speech by sending out a message of hope to everyone afflicted by this disease: if we really listen to each other, many good things can be achieved for the greater good of all.