Researchers gather blood to study Lyme disease

September 06, 2017 07:08 PM

In Albany County on Wednesday, people rolled up their sleeves to help with Lyme disease research. It's the second of three collections to help build a better library of blood for scientists to use in their study of the tick-borne disease.

The problem doctors have with Lyme disease is the current test is not that accurate. Sometimes, the test says you don't have Lyme disease when you do and then it goes untreated.

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You heard a lot of those stories from people at Wednesday's collection. These groups want this blood to be used to help bring their new, more effective test to market.

SUNY Adirondack Microbiologist Holly Ahern hopes their new "Lyme Seek" genomic test is available to doctors to use next year.

Another goal is to gather this blood for other research into Lyme disease.

"People are here because they feel marginalized, because they feel frustrated, because they want to make a difference. They want to help," explained Holly Ahern with SUNY Adirondack Lyme Action Network. "We've been waiting for [Centers for Disease Control], we've been waiting for [National Institute of Health] to step forward and do some research to find this. So, we've literally done this the hard way, through private donations."

"We don't have the research that we need. We're hoping this test will show how many people are really, really sick," echoed Tammy Crawford with Focus on Lyme. "We're also creating a biorepository, so we'll have blood samples available for other researchers to use to further the field."

Right now, researchers have collected blood from almost 300 people over two days. That includes people with Lyme disease, people who think they might have Lyme disease and friends and family of people with Lyme disease.

There's still a third day of collection at SUNY Adirondack on Friday October 13.


WNYT Staff

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