Lyme disease: Scientists are testing Raman spectroscopy as a diagnostic tool


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The research, conducted by two Texas A&M University scientists, is focused on improving treatment outcomes for Lyme disease by developing a test that is more accurate and efficient than current testing for the infection.

Borrelia burgdorferi spirochetes/CDC

Lyme disease, the fastest-growing vector-borne disease in the United States, according to the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, is difficult to diagnose and can only be treated in the early stages of infection. Once the infection has spread to the nervous and muscular systems, it is more difficult to detect and less susceptible to antibiotics.

Dr. Artem Rogowski, assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (VMBS), and Dr. Dmitry Kruski, assistant professor in the Texas A&M Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics and the Department of Biomedical Engineering, are testing Raman spectroscopy, a technique that uses To detect vibrations at the molecular level, as a diagnostic tool for Lyme disease.

Results of Rogowski and Krosky Second paper on Raman spectroscopy as a diagnostic tool for Lyme disease showed that blood samples from mice and humans with Lyme disease were more accurately identified by Raman spectroscopy as compared to two-level serotype, which is the only currently approved diagnostic method for diagnosing Lyme disease in humans in the United States.

“We are trying to develop a better test that is simple, inexpensive, and accurate,” Rogowski said. “By subtle, I mean very sensitive and very specific at the same time.”

Lyme disease interviews

The increased accuracy of Raman spectroscopy testing could improve Lyme disease diagnostic practices for both humans and animals thought to have had contact with the disease.

For animals, the new test would require a smaller sample that could be easily taken in the field away from the veterinary clinic or hospital, thus improving ambulatory veterinary practices.

For humans, Raman spectroscopy testing can significantly reduce the amount of time required to complete the test, increase diagnostic accuracy, lower the cost of disease diagnosis, and improve public health outcomes by definitively diagnosing disease earlier.

The team is in the process of validating the test through additional studies, Rogowski said, and if the test is validated, it could become an important tool for diagnosing Lyme disease around the world, especially in remote areas outside the US where the disease is common, by enabling testing outside of settings. Medical and traditional hospitals.

Lyme Disease Biobank and a new study

The researchers’ collaborative effort has received funding from the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a nonprofit organization that partners with world-class scientists and institutions to accelerate medical breakthroughs for Lyme disease. They also received human blood samples from Lyme disease biobankClinical specimen repository.

Roofsky and Krosky’s first paper published in Raman spectroscopy is the first proof-of-concept study that explored Raman spectroscopy for the diagnosis of mice infected with Lyme pathogens. Their second paper included data from testing Raman spectroscopy on samples from mice infected with European Lyme pathogens, and also included several human blood samples provided by the Lyme Disease Biobank.

Rogowski anticipates that the team may be able to publish more results in about two years from the next phase of their research, which entails blind testing of human samples.

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