Hope for Lyme sufferers with 'groundbreaking' pilot study
HUNDREDS of sick Australians - including Northern Rivers residents - are hoping that a new research study might provide a breakthrough on the debilitating illness plaguing their lives.
The Lyme Disease Association of Australia is funding a pilot study to test clinical samples from patients who believe they are suffering from Lyme disease.
The pilot study will use an innovative method for the diagnosis of vector borne infections.
LDAA CEO Sharon Whiteman said the group was delighted to announce the study, made possible by a grant from the Country Women's Association (CWA) of NSW.
"Australians who are desperately unwell after a tick bite have waited years for credible research to uncover what is making them sick," Ms Whiteman said.
"This is an extremely exciting project and we believe the results could be groundbreaking."
The study utilises a "proprietary capture methodology" never before used in the the detection of tick-borne pathogens in Australia.
According to the LDAA, the researchers undertaking the project have extensive experience in the fields of microbiology, research science, infectious diseases, auto-immune conditions, and public health.
"With research previously published in the Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal, a prestigious international journal, they form a formidable team. The lead researcher has worked in the vector borne infectious disease discipline for many years."
"It is evident the researchers are actually working towards gaining new insights that will help patients receive a reliable diagnosis for this terrible disease," Ms Whiteman said.
"We are hopeful this innovative approach will turn things around for patients."
The study results will be submitted for publication in peer reviewed journals with wide readership by Australian medical practitioners.
Lyme disease (or a local variant) is not recognised as endemic to Australia, despite hundreds of Aussies being ravaged by a mystery disease which bears all the hallmarks of Lyme, or what was once known as "relapsing fever".
A campaign by everyday Australians afflicted by the disease to get the medical establishment to recognise the disease's existence remains remains unresolved, despite a widely publicised Senate inquiry into the issue.
"Evidence of what is making Australians sick after a tick bite could change the lives of thousands of patients who are currently falling through the cracks in this evidence-based policy world," Ms Whiteman said.