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Promising advances in Lyme disease prevention: A closer look at the VLA15 vaccine


Introduction to VLA15: A new hope against Lyme disease

A new vaccine, VLA15, is making headlines as it enters the final phase of clinical trials. Developed by Pfizer and Valneva, this vaccine aims to provide a much needed defense against Lyme disease, a prevalent tickborne illness affecting nearly 476,000 Americans annually.

Understanding the vaccine’s mechanism

VLA15, a multivalent protein subunit vaccine, targets the outer surface protein A (OspA) of Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease. By focusing on multiple proteins found on different strains of the bacteria, VLA15 promises expansive coverage against the disease prevalent in both the U.S. and Europe.

Clinical trials and what lies ahead

The upcoming Phase 3 trial will enroll about 6,000 participants across various endemic regions, testing the vaccine’s efficacy and safety. While the final approval may still be a few years away, with potential FDA submission expected around 2025, the anticipation for a successful Lyme disease vaccine grows.

Historical context and future prospects

Previously, a Lyme disease vaccine called LYMERix was available but was discontinued in 2002 due to adverse effects. With advancements in science and a better understanding of vaccine development, VLA15 could avoid past pitfalls, offering a safer option for those at risk.

Prevention and awareness

Until VLA15 becomes available, the best defense against Lyme disease includes avoiding tick-infested areas, using EPA-approved bug sprays, and being vigilant for symptoms like the characteristic bullseye rash. Early detection and treatment with antibiotics remain crucial for those exposed to tick bites.


As Lyme disease cases rise, partly due to climate change and increased outdoor activities, VLA15 represents a beacon of hope. It promises to provide effective protection for those frequently exposed to tick environments, potentially changing the landscape of Lyme disease prevention.