ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire)—Three-hundred-thousand people are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year. Usually caused by a tick bite, it can impact people physically, mentally, and neurologically. If diagnosed early, antibiotics will wipe out the bacteria left behind in the blood before it spreads through the heart, joints and nervous system. Now, some patients are turning to bees to take the sting out of this painful and debilitating disease.
One sting—after another—after another …
These days, Adriana Furey stings herself with ten live honeybees three times a week to get relief from the symptoms of chronic Lyme disease. Before …
“For months and years at a time in a dark room, really unable to pick my head up off the pillow,” Adriana Furey recalled.
Adriana and her mother talked with 75 different doctors, tried antibiotics, immunotherapy, hyperbaric oxygen and herbal treatments. Nothing worked until bee venom therapy, or BVT. Ellie Lobel, a nuclear physicist, literally stumbled across the treatment by accident.
“I was attacked by killer bees,” Ellie Lobel shared.
But days after surviving the surprise bee attack her symptoms started disappearing. Ellie spent the next several years researching BVT and found it kills the bacteria that causes Lyme’s most debilitating symptoms—but according to Ellie, it only works if taken directly from the bee.
“The devil’s in the dosing right, is what they say. So not enough, won’t heal you, but too much can kill you,” Lobel revealed.
A warning Dr. Amy Edwards takes very seriously.
“What I would just tell people is to be careful. Being chronically ill makes you desperate, you just want relief … And I get that, I do. And so, you’re willing to try anything, but there’s no evidence that this works,” Amy Edwards, MD of pediatric infection control at University Hospital Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital.
But Adriana and her mother are true bee believers.
“It’s pretty amazing. It hurts, it burns, but it’s worth it to get your life back,” Furey expressed.
Researchers with the Lyme disease research group at the University of New Haven studied the effects of bee venom and found it could be effective against the bacteria that causes Lyme. However, the scientists caution that more research is needed to determine a safe and effective way to administer the bee venom, and melittin, the main protein in the venom. Health experts say people who are allergic to bees, or who are living with adrenal failure should not try this.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer; Marsha Lewis, Field Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer & Editor.
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TOPIC: STINGING AWAY LYME DISEASE WITH BEE VENOM THERAPY?
REPORT: MB #4889
BACKGROUND ON LYME DISEASE: Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and rarely, Borrelia Mayonii. It is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Symptoms can include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, the infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings, and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks.
DIAGNOSING LYME DISEASE: When assessing a patient for Lyme disease, health care providers consider the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease, the likelihood that the patient has been exposed to infected blacklegged ticks, the possibility that other illnesses may cause similar symptoms, and may recommend laboratory tests. Most Lyme disease tests are designed to detect antibodies made by the body in response to infection. When diagnosing a patient with Lyme disease health care professionals must consider that antibodies can take several weeks to develop, so patients may test negative if infected only recently. Antibodies can also normally persist in the blood for months or even years after the infection is gone and as a result the test cannot be used to determine a cure. Another concerning factor is if the patient is infected with other diseases, including some tickborne diseases, or some viral, bacterial, or autoimmune diseases as that can result in false positive test results. Some tests given to patient to test for Lyme disease result for two types of antibody, IgM and IgG. Positive IgM results should be disregarded if the patient has been ill for more than 30 days.
NEW CLINICAL TRIALS FOR LYME DISEASE: Valneva and Pfizer have developed a Lyme disease vaccine candidate, VLA15, that is currently in Phase 2 human trials. VLA15 is a multivalent, protein subunit vaccine that targets the outer surface protein A of Borrelia. This vaccine is designed to protect people against North American and European strains of the Lyme disease bacterium. The University of Massachusetts Medical School’s MassBiologics has developed a human monoclonal antibody designed to be used as pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP for Lyme disease. Human trials are expected to begin soon, and this approach would provide seasonal protection against Lyme disease. It will more than likely consist of a single shot that people would get each year at the beginning of tick season. More research into Lyme disease and Bee Venom Therapy is also happening at the University of New Haven. Scientists recently published a paper on bee venom’s effect on Lyme: Antimicrobial Activity of Bee Venom and Melittin against Borrelia burgdorferi. Findings suggest that whole bee venom or melittin could be effective antimicrobial agents for B. burgdorferi; however, further research is necessary to evaluate their effectiveness in vivo, as well as their safe and effective delivery method for their therapeutic use.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS REPORT, PLEASE CONTACT:
ELLIE LOBEL, PHD
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