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Volunteers needed for Lyme disease vaccine trial

A hospital system in our area is looking into a vaccine for Lyme disease and it needs your help.

SAYRE, Pa. — Bradford County and other rural areas in northeastern and central Pennsylvania are hot spots for ticks and Lyme disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 476,000 people in the U.S. get Lyme disease each year.

"This northeastern region, including here, Lyme is endemic. So if people get Lyme, it could cause arthritis, neurologic symptoms, cardiac symptoms. Some people, unfortunately, get Lyme more than once," said Dr. Victor Kolade, a Guthrie internal medicine physician.

However, a new experimental Lyme disease vaccine may give folks some relief. Guthrie Medical, based in Sayre, has been chosen as one of 12 health care organizations nationwide to take part in a clinical trial for the vaccine.

"A Lyme vaccine study — we are about to get started in a couple of weeks, and we will enroll patients up until December or early January. so, we are very excited to be participating in this," Dr. Kolade said.

Pfizer and Valneva developed the experimental vaccine. The vaccine targets bacteria from tick bites.

Medical professionals expect the trials to run a few years before the vaccine is available nationwide.

"Apparently, it may take till 2025 for the vaccine to be released. If they do an interim data analysis and the vaccine is far better than the placebo, some people will get; it may get shortened."

The health organization is looking for people to sign up for the vaccine trial — particularly healthy people who work or spend a lot of time outdoors.

"We would like to enroll 50 people aged 5 to 18, so, children, and 100 adults. but there is no cap, so we can enroll as many as we get appointments for."

If you would like to participate in the vaccine trial, you can find information here.

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