Tick bite New gel for borreliosis bacteria
Newly designed gel is said to prevent borreliosis after tick bite
A novel gel is intended to kill bacteria immediately after a tick bite to prevent the occurrence of Lyme disease. Current studies indicate that every third tick carries Borrelia bacteria in itself. To reduce the risk of infection, a cream should help to stop a flare-up of the infectious disease in the bud.
A new gel should be applied to the skin immediately after a tick bite to prevent dangerous borreliosis. Although an infection can be relatively harmless, many patients suffer as a result of body aches, heart stunts, palpitations, kidney damage and nerve disorders. After having bitten a tick, fever, chills, pain in the joints and the typical red circle around the wound site can occur. In medical terms, patients are treated with strong antibiotic drugs and, in more severe cases, also with infusions in the case of described symptoms and the detection of the pathogen in the blood. Often, however, at the beginning of the infection typical warning symptoms are missing, so that many patients do not treat the tick bite at the initial stage. Therefore, the long-term consequences are also serious, which can hardly be combated with conventional methods. Today, there are no vaccinations or obvious immediate treatments against the pathogen.
Around 35 percent of the ticks in Germany now carry the pathogen, says dr. Sabine Stauga from the Bernhard-Nocht Center for Clinical Trials (BNCCT). In five to ten percent of the bitten an infection breaks out. In order to ensure better care for patients, scientists from Germany and Austria have designed a new drug that will protect against the onset of Lyme disease.
For protection to work, tick-affected people should apply a gel with antibiotics after a bite. The cream contains the active ingredient azithromycin, which is currently only taken as a pill after a tick-episode. Previous studies attempting to install the drug in the form of an ointment had failed time and time again. Former preparations were made with oil. The oil should help to penetrate the antibiotic drug into the skin. However, the skin uptake of the drug was so far too minimal to allow penetration into deeper skin layers.
On the other hand, the newly conceived means are more promising. The gel contains the antibiotic azithromycin in a very high concentration, so that the bacteria can be killed directly at the bite site. Initial studies in animals had met expectations, and the skin's compatibility was good, as another study showed.
The pathogen is separated from the intestine of the carrier animal only after a few hours. If the germs have been transported to the wound site, they usually remain in the vicinity of the puncture site for up to four days. Only then do the bacteria migrate further into the body. This special feature makes use of the gel and can therefore be applied to the bite site.
The Hamburg study center is currently looking for subjects for the final study phase, which is required for approval of the drug. By the fall of 2012, volunteers between 18 and 80 years of age can report. The condition is that they were stung by a tick. In addition, the tick should be kept, therefore either stuck in the skin or already removed in a jar. Up to 500 people are being sought for Study Phase Three to test the antibiotic gel under normal conditions. (Sb)
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