Springtime brings warm, sunny weather, more outdoor playtime for kids and, unfortunately, Lyme disease.Lyme disease can affect anyone but it’s more common in children and teens, especially in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states.
This spring, children in Western New York are eligible to enroll in a clinical study of Pfizer’s new Lyme disease vaccine. The study is being run through the Department of Pediatrics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo.
More information is available at www.lymekidstudy.com.
The purpose of the study is to learn more about the safety of an investigational Lyme vaccine in people between the ages of 5 and 17. About 3,000 participants will be enrolled in the United States. The UB study can enroll 30-60 children. When diagnosed, Lyme disease is easily treated, explained Mark D. Hicar, MD, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics in the Jacobs School and the principal investigator on the clinical study at UB.
But, he said, if untreated, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease can spread through the bloodstream and cause serious problems in the brain, joints and heart. “I have treated many children with Lyme,” he said. “Cases of Lyme have been steadily increasing in our area over the last decade.” Right now, the best way to prevent Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites. But Pfizer is conducting this clinical study to see if a Lyme disease vaccine it developed for children is safe and effective.
Children who are enrolled will receive a total of four shots in their upper arm: three within the first six months and a booster a year later.
Participation will involve six in-person visits to UB’s Clinical Research Center in the Clinical and Translational Research Center on the 6th floor of 875 Ellicott St. on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. There will also be two follow-up phone calls over the course of two years.
Participants will be reimbursed for time and travel expenses.
“Being able to offer these options to our patients translates to improved care for the children in the Western New York area and is often the only way for them to receive these specific treatments,” said Hicar, who is also a physician with UBMD Pediatrics.
This story was originally published by the University at Buffalo on March 15, 2023.