Rutgers has been selected as a clinical trial site for a national research study by drug company Pfizer Inc. and French vaccine maker Valneva SE to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a vaccine for the prevention of Lyme disease in children over the age of 5.
It would be the first-ever vaccine targeted for children ages 5-17 as a preventative measure of the disease. A vaccine for adults does not exist.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 476,000 Americans are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease, which is more common in children and teens. Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium, called Borrelia burgdorferi, that is transferred to humans through the bite of an infected tick. If left untreated, the bacteria can spread through the bloodstream and cause serious problems in the brain, joints and heart.
The Pediatric Clinical Research Center at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick is one of approximately 50 research sites nationwide and the only clinical trial site in New Jersey.
Rutgers is enrolling 50 to 100 children ages 5 to 17 who have not been diagnosed with Lyme disease in the past three months for the two-year study, which will include 3,000 children.