Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Critique of potential upcoming Lyme vaccine

Important reading about probable upcoming Lyme vaccination

Lyme disease vaccination: safety first

In the Article by Nina Wressnigg and colleagues1 and the related Comment by Paul Lantos2 describing a novel Lyme vaccine, the authors attempt to avoid discussion of the side-effects of the previous Lyme vaccine, LYMErix (SmithKline Beecham, Pittsburgh, USA). This approach to safety issues bodes ill for the new Lyme vaccine candidate.

LYMErix was put on the market in 1998 and withdrawn by the manufacturer in 2002, ostensibly because of poor sales. However, the so-called poor sales were related to safety concerns raised in a class-action lawsuit by more than 400 patients who claimed that they developed Lyme-like symptoms after vaccination with LYMErix.3, 4 Subsequent studies showed that outer surface protein A (OspA), the antigenic component of Borrelia burgdorferi used to create both LYMErix and the new candidate vaccine, induced joint-reactive and nerve-reactive antibodies in animals and human beings vaccinated with the protein antigen.3—6  

Even more disturbing, other studies indicated that LYMErix induced reactivity against multiple target antigens that were never characterised, and these studies called into question the OspA specificity of the vaccine.7, 8 By withdrawing LYMErix when it did, the manufacturer avoided releasing phase 4 post-marketing data that probably would have shown increased side-effects related to the vaccine.9 The data have never been disclosed, and this lack of disclosure has fostered persistent patient mistrust of Lyme vaccine manufacturers.

Wressnigg and colleagues provide minimum safety data about the new OspA-based Lyme vaccine, whereas Lantos glosses over the "largely unsubstantiated safety concerns" about LYMErix. Adoption of this view by Lyme vaccine manufacturers, regulators, and promoters has shaken patient confidence in Lyme vaccines despite the fact that this patient population is generally pro-vaccination.10 Any new Lyme vaccine will need extensive safety testing, more transparency about side-effects, and improved patient communication on the part of the vaccine manufacturer to allay valid patient concerns about safety.4, 10 Let's hope that history does not repeat itself because Lyme vaccine manufacturers, regulators, and promoters once again underestimate or ignore justified patient concerns about Lyme vaccination risks.

RBS serves without compensation on the medical advisory panel of QMedRx Inc. He has no financial ties to the company. LJ declares that she has no conflicts of interest.


1 Wressnigg N, P√∂llabauer E-M, Aichinger G, et al. Safety and immunogenicity of a novel multivalent OspA vaccine against Lyme borreliosis in healthy adults: a double-blind, randomised, dose-escalation phase 1/2 trial. Lancet Infect Dis 2013; 13: 680-689.Summary | Full Text | PDF(256KB) | CrossRef | PubMed
2 Lantos PM. Lyme disease vaccination: are we ready to try again?. Lancet Infect Dis 2013; 13: 643-644. Full Text | PDF(94KB) |CrossRef | PubMed
3 Stricker RB. Lymerix risks revisited. Microbe 2008; 3: 1-2. PubMed
4 Smith P, Gaito A, Marks DH. Transcript of FDA Lymerix meeting, BethesdaMD. lymerix-meeting&catid=129: hhsfood-a-drug-administration-fda&Itemid=531. (accessed Nov 29, 2013).
5 Souayah N, Ajroud-Driss S, Sander HW, Brannagan TH, Hays AP, Chin RL. Small fiber neuropathy following vaccination for rabies, varicella or Lyme disease. Vaccine 2009; 27: 7322-7325. CrossRef | PubMed
6 Marks DH. Neurological complications of vaccination with outer surface protein A (OspA). Int J Risk Saf Med 2011; 23: 89-96.PubMed
7 Molloy PJ, Berardi VP, Persing DH, Sigal LH. Detection of multiple reactive protein species by immunoblotting after recombinant outer surface protein A Lyme disease vaccination. Clin Infect Dis 2000; 31: 42-47. CrossRef | PubMed
8 Fawcett PT, Rose CD, Budd SM, Gibney KM. Effect of immunization with recombinant OspA on serologic tests for Lyme borreliosis. Clin Diagn Lab Immunol 2001; 8: 79-84. PubMed
9 Nardelli DT, Munson EL, Callister SM, Schell RF. Human Lyme disease vaccines: past and future concerns. Future Microbiol2009; 4: 457-469. CrossRef | PubMed
10 Smith P. Remarks to Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, BethesdaMD. vaccine-remarks&catid=80: controversy&Itemid=76. (accessed Nov 29, 2013).

Response from the development team:
Lyme disease vaccination: safety first — Authors' reply

We refute the assertion by Raphael Stricker and Lorraine Johnson that we avoided discussion of the side-effects of the previously licensed Lyme vaccine, LYMErix, in our report of a novel multivalent candidate vaccine against Lyme borreliosis.1 In our introduction, we provide a full and balanced description of the hypothesised safety concerns associated with the monovalent outer surface protein A (OspA) vaccine LYMErix, and we present and discuss in detail the safety data generated in our phase 1/2 trial of the new multivalent vaccine.  

Conflict of interest statement:
All authors are employees of Baxter. PNB, BAC, NW, and GA own stock and share options in Baxter, and have planned, pending, or issued patents for Lyme vaccines.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be constructive in your comments.