Are Lyme disease patients at greater risk for developing severe COVID-19?

Woman with Lyme disease and COVID-19 being examined in hospital bed.

Cancer, chronic kidney diseases, diabetes mellitus, and hypertension have been associated with severe COVID-19, wrote Ng and colleagues in the journal mBio. [1] Could Lyme disease increase the risk of severe COVID-19?

A new study looks at the risk of severe COVID-19 in patients with a history of exposure to Lyme disease. In their study “Correlation between COVID-19 severity and previous exposure of patients to Borrelia spp.,” Szewczyk‑Dąbrowska et al.² examined 3 groups of patients: those with severe COVID-19 (hospitalized), asymptomatic to mild COVID-19 (home treated or not aware of being infected), and those not infected with SARS-CoV-2.

The authors identified individuals with Lyme disease using a 19 antigen test.

“The testing revealed that all patients hospitalized due to COVID-19 disease were positive for Borrelia burgdorferi-specific IgG (31 out of 31).”

The study found:

  • Patients with severe COVID-19: 31 positive for Bb (out of 31)
  • Patients with mild/asymptomatic COVID-19: 19 positive Bb (out of 28)
  • Participants never infected with SARS-CoV-2: 8 positive cases (out of 28)

The incidence of positive tests was lower for individuals who were not hospitalized for COVID-19.

“Increased levels of Borrelia-specific IgGs strongly correlated with COVID-19 severity and risk of hospitalization. This suggests that a history of tick bites and related infections may contribute to the risks in COVID-19.”

“Previous exposure to Borrelia,” the authors point out, “renders patients more prone to severe COVID-19 in case of SARS-CoV-2 infection.”

The authors also reported that hospitalized patients were more likely to be positive for Anaplasmosis.

This finding led the authors to note, “This further supports the suggestion that increased risks in COVID-19 are linked to a history of ticks bites and related infections.”

The authors discussed the problems with diagnostic tests and stressed that any correlation between Lyme disease and COVID-19 does not necessarily indicate causation.

The authors suggest:

  • “… prolonged Lyme disease might affect the immune system, decreasing its efficacy in antiviral responses in the viral infection.”
  • “… co-stimulation from both B. burgdorferi and SARS-CoV-2 may result in even more pronounced excessive inflammatory response and a higher risk of severe COVID-19.”
  • “Screening for antibodies targeting Borrelia may contribute to accurately assessing the odds of hospitalization for SARS-CoV-2 infected patients.”

Editor’s Note: These results should be investigated using other diagnostic laboratory tests.

  1. Ng, W.H., et al., Comorbidities in SARS-CoV-2 Patients: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. mBio, 2021. 12(1).
  2. Szewczyk-Dabrowska, A., et al., Correlation between COVID-19 severity and previous exposure of patients to Borrelia spp. Sci Rep, 2022. 12(1): p. 15944.

6 Replies to "Are Lyme disease patients at greater risk for developing severe COVID-19?"

  • Sue Klein
    12/05/2022 (7:35 pm)

    I have Lyme and Chaga’s diseases
    I got what I believe was Covid early in 2020, did a Bioenergetic test using Qest4, and it chose two homeopathic remedies which are too similar to be used at the same time . I chose Causticum over Phosphorus and felt Much Better after the very first dose. The cough was MUCH less and I was able to continue with my mostly after school hours music teaching . The following week I continued with the bands with whom I play for rehearsals two evenings a week and did not cough even once playing my clarinet. I started the treatment before it really took hold, because the cough was so awful from the very beginning. That first day I had symptoms I slept from midnight to 4pm the next day. This is what was improved dramatically after the dose of Causticum. I repeated it nightly , plussing it to increase the potency, and was completely free of any symptoms at all of Covid within 3 weeks. Bear in mind the lyme and Chaga’s for which I take a cocktail of homeopathic nutritional remedies to deprive both Lyme and Chagas of the nutrients they both steal from me, so vitamins, minerals , fructose, and occasionally just homeopathic Magnesium in a very high potency at night, and the cocktail during the day. This was before any real publicity about the illness and before any requirements to wear a mask or to teach via zoom . It was in fact a full two months before the lockdown started in the UK. So because I started the Causticum the day after the first symptoms , I experienced no loss of taste and certainly had no Long Covid.
    From the date of Lockdown, towards the end of March 2020, all my teaching needed to be done via zoom. I have had Lyme since 2011, and the Chaga’s first showed up in a Bioenergetic test using Asyra (as qest4 was then known ) in 2015. I am still teaching Recorder, Piano and Clarinet mostly wearing a mask and protective gloves to minimise the exposure to Chaga’s for my students.

  • Dr Oz
    12/05/2022 (6:54 am)

    There is a strong scientific, ethical and moral case to be made that the current COVID vaccine administration must stop until all the raw data has been subjected to fully independent scrutiny. Looking to the future the medical and public health professions must recognise these failings and eschew the tainted dollar of the medical-industrial complex. It will take a lot of time and effort to rebuild trust in these institutions, but the health – of both humanity and the medical profession – depends on it.

    • Donna Falcone
      12/05/2022 (8:56 am)

      I had a pretty bad experience after my Pfizer shots. I wonder if my history of lyne and MTBD had any effect on my reaction. I agree much more research is needed but go figure… we ARE the research!

  • HighJohn
    12/05/2022 (6:51 am)

    Lyme patients are are increased risk of severe infections – IF they have taken 1-4 shots of mRNA gene therapy to modulate their immune systems unnecessarily. Authorities and sections of the medical profession have supported unethical, coercive, and misinformed policies such as vaccine mandates and vaccine passports, undermining the principles of ethical evidence-based medical practice and informed consent. These regrettable actions are a symptom of the ‘medical information mess’: The tip of a mortality iceberg where prescribed medications are estimated to be the third most common cause of death globally after heart disease and cancer.

  • Peter Hill
    12/05/2022 (4:28 am)

    I have tested positive for Lyme disease, earlier this year I was hospitalised with Covid 19. I would like to point out that it would not have taken a study to come to the conclusion that people with Lyme disease are more at risk of being hospitalised. It has long been known that folk with Lyme disease are inclined to have a suppressed immune system, therefore, susceptible to infection and less able to fight infections. Having said that, I also have Myasthenia gravis and I was taking steroids to actively suppress my immune system in order to treat the condition, so it would be difficult to say anything other than Lyme disease may have been a contributory factor. Logic would, therfore, dictate that there could be other contributory factors beside Lyme disease.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      12/06/2022 (7:25 am)

      Most of the individuals completing my Lyme Disease and COVID Survey were not hospitalized. I covered this article in my blog to stress the need for further study.

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