3 Lyme disease vaccines in the pipeline


National Geographic magazine recently published an article, “Lyme disease is spreading fast—but a vaccine may be on the way.” In it, Guynup summarizes three Lyme disease vaccines that are currently in the pipeline. [1]

In 1998, the first Lyme disease vaccine was introduced by LYMErix but it was pulled from the market after 3 years due to poor sales and possible safety concerns. The FDA was never able to confirm that the vaccine caused harm despite concerns.

Only recently have drug makers resumed researching new human Lyme vaccines.

“But the challenge now is creating vaccines that will protect against the seven globally known strains of Lyme disease,” says Obadiah Plante, who leads the bacteriology team at Moderna.

Pfizer/Valneva candidate: VLA15 and Moderna are both developing vaccines that target the bacterium’s Outer Surface Protein A (OspA). The spirochete that causes Lyme disease produces OspA in the tick. The vaccine is intended to create “antibodies that prevent the organisms from suppressing OspA when the tick next feeds,” the author explains. “This will render them immobile, imprisoned within the tick’s intestine and unable to infect a human host.”

The vaccine is not expected to work after the infection enters humans, as the spirochete changes proteins from OspA to Outer Surface Protein C (OspC).

“The Pfizer/Valneva candidate, VLA15, is farthest along and is being tested in a phase three clinical trial that launched in the summer of 2022,” writes Guynup.

Two study sites (Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard) were halted due to protocol violations. “In an email, a spokesperson for Pfizer noted that the study is expected to wrap up in December 2025,” Guynup points out.

Moderna, best known for developing a COVID-19 vaccine using mRNA technology, has been working on two Lyme disease vaccines using this same technology.

Moderna will begin human trials this summer with 800 participants in the U.S. between 18 and 70 years old.

The first vaccine, named mRNA-1982, contains a single mRNA that targets the Borrelia bacteria species that causes most cases of Lyme disease in the U.S.

The second vaccine, named mRNA-1975, contains a mixture of seven mRNAs targeting the Borrelia species that cause most cases of Lyme disease in both the U.S. and Europe.

MassBiologics is taking a different approach, using monoclonal antibody targeting OspA.

This vaccine may offer immediate protection, while it can take months for immunity to develop with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

“Within days after you get the subcutaneous injection, you’ve absorbed enough of the antibody so you’re immediately immune,” says Mark Klempner, a professor of medicine and vice chancellor emeritus of MassBiologics at UMass Chan Medical School.

According to Klempner, when 20 infected ticks were placed on nonhuman primates “this antibody treatment provided 100 percent protection.”

The company hopes to apply for approval from the FDA in 2025.

Author’s Note: The safety and efficacy of these vaccines are not yet available for doctors to weigh the pros and cons of offering a vaccine. Furthermore, none of the vaccines is designed for protecting against a co-infections.


  1. Lyme disease is spreading fast but a vaccine may be on the way. National Geographic. Guynup, Sharon. May 15, 2023. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/premium/article/vaccine-prevention-lyme-disease-epidemic-tick-treatment

10 Replies to "3 Lyme disease vaccines in the pipeline"

  • JanK
    06/13/2023 (11:11 am)

    I had the Lymerix vaccine when it was available to the public, as did my family. We did not have a reaction that I can recall. What I do know is that years later after seeing a Functional Medicine Doctor for other issues I tested positive for Lyme. I have the test results to prove this to be so. So people need to be aware that they may test positive after taking this type of vaccine. Where this becomes an issue, a person won’t know if they actually were bitten and need an antibiotic or if their test results is due to having the vaccine.** There was never any information as to how long the Lymerix shot was able to provide immunity.

    • Lynn Cash
      06/13/2023 (7:40 pm)

      The Lymerix vaccine was OspA. It was not made of live components & could not have given you LD. The docs refused to share my original test results as I was represented by NY attorney. I was patient of chief of infectious at BU for 20 years & tested positive the entire 2 decades, even after a year+ of oral antibiotics & then 4 months of a long picc line, self infusing 2 x’s a day! I had 9 sugeries & had organs removed… I was in phase IV of study & went to NIH in Maryland to speak to Physician panel with 19 others from across the country who also had adverse effects from vaccine. We won the clash action suit for 450 people! I was timed out & received $0.00, but… that vaccine was taken OFF the market!

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      06/16/2023 (7:59 am)

      It can be difficult to determine if a Lyme disease test is positive from the vaccine or from Lyme disease. The western blot was introduced with the hope that they could tell the difference. Unfortunately, the western blot test has its own problems. The vaccine manufacturer thought the vaccine might need to be given yearly to help.

  • Lynn Cash
    06/13/2023 (7:05 am)

    As an LD vaccine participant 1995 Lymerix, Im sorry to read the misinformation that you publish about the FDA “not” finding adverse effects from the vaccine! It nearly killed me. I was told my glaring symptoms didn’t exist! Unless you want your life ruined, DO NOT volunteer as vaccine participant! Read my “Vaccine Volunteer ” article from 1997 in the Lyme Times & that tells the story. I had to sign legal agreements & the study docs did not uphold their own deal. Even the $350. for participating was taken from us. The VAERS promise.. was ignored after many attempts, etc.. etc.. Now nearly 30 years later they are just going to try again & they are NOT disclosing the truth to the public about what already happened! You’ve been warned, stay away! Its how I learned the hard, medicine is just a business now, nobody REALLY cares.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      06/13/2023 (10:37 am)

      I am sorry you were sick from the LD vaccine. We are judge beginning understand the gap between what patients experience and what is reported to the study coordinators and VAERS. I added despite concerns to sentence. “The FDA was never able to confirm that the vaccine caused harm despite concerns.”

      • Lynn Cash
        06/13/2023 (7:49 pm)

        Being 13 generation Cape Codder, literally Wampanoag & Mayflower, I was constantly in the woods & know (now) I already had LD. It was suspected I was in dormant situation & the vax agitated, aggrevated & exasperated my situation. It was maddening to be denied! And everybody loses when medicine lies!

        • T Allen
          06/16/2023 (9:16 pm)

          I’m so sorry you had such a bad reaction! I participated in the study and got the vaccine. I also got the vaccine for the next 2 years and never had any reaction to it. I tink I got bitten by a deer tick in 2008 and got 30 days of Doxy. Seemed ok until I got bitten by another deer tick in 2015, suspected Lyme but could not get treatment through the VA. 6 months later I paid to have the tick tested and it was positive for Anaplasmosis. I’ve been very sick ever since that bite. I’ve never had a definitively positive Lyme test. I don’t know what part the Lymerix vaxx may have played in that. Your reaction could have a genetic component as well. We’ll likely never know. Take care.

          • Dr. Daniel Cameron
            06/19/2023 (11:21 am)

            The Lyme disease vaccine manufacturers thought any protection from Lyme would be temporary.

      • Lynn Cash
        06/17/2023 (12:35 am)

        How would they if outcome manipulation is happening?

        • Dr. Daniel Cameron
          06/19/2023 (11:23 am)

          I will do the best I can to understand their findings. I will see if my concerns are addressed.

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