New urine test could detect Lyme disease even before symptoms arrive

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New urine test could detect Lyme disease even before symptoms arrive

In a new study, researchers have claimed about effectiveness of a urine test that detects Lyme disease. The experimental tests were conducted on 300 individuals for three years. The idea to develop the test first flashed into mind of Temple Douglas, a student at George Mason University. Douglas, then a high school student, thought of finding a possibility of a method, which was developed to test microscopic particles, to diagnose Lyme.

Douglas was aware of the issues surrounding Lyme disease test because he had two people in his family suffering with the same disease. The disease is difficult to detect even today. After tick bit, only 40% of its patients have signs of the familiar rash. The current laboratory tests can result into false positives. The newly found urine test to diagnose Lyme disease is based on detecting Lyme bacteria in the body using urine samples.

“We are looking at a highly specific protein shed from the surface of the bacteria that causes Lyme”, said Lance Liotta, medical director of the Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine at George Mason University. Proteomics is the study of proteins.

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The new test is better than existing ones. The already available technologies detect antibodies produced as an infection response. The results of the existing test can take up to two weeks to come. Though the new test is seen as potentially helpful for acute Lyme patients, it is still in its preliminary phase. There is a need to test it on other regions of the country with different species of ticks.

The test is in experimental stage now and is not available for commercial use. The test is thought to detect the disease even before symptoms occur in patients. The team of researchers is also thinking to use it to detect other conditions such as the parasitic infections Chagas disease and toxoplasmosis. The test is currently licensed to private firm Ceres Nanoscience.

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