Vector-Borne Infection Research-Analysis-Strategy
November 2017

A call for Lyme disease research: Be careful what you wish for,
you may not get what you expect.

There are recent statements in the NICE guidelines regarding the need for research on Lyme disease. This may be designed to placate those unhappy with the proposed NICE guideline, or may help fund research projects. However we should temper our joy at the thought that useful research will be carried out to improve our knowledge of the disease and treatment.

Medical research programs can take many years, from definition through approval, data collection, analysis and publication. It is critical that projects and research teams are carefully selected to achieve progress in the field of study.

Over the last 30 plus years of work there have been outstanding and valuable studies from many hundreds of researchers that have generated a wealth of data. Running in parallel there have also been research projects and publications that maintain the status quo of knowledge as defined by a few influential figures in the Lyme world.

A number of facts are clear:

1) Lyme research funding has been miniscule when compared to other diseases such as HIV, Ebola, Zika etc.

2) Many excellent research projects and studies have been carried out, however their findings are ignored in all UK, EU and IDSA guidelines.

3) Historically Lyme research budgets have been assigned to the same groups over a long period and Willi Burgdorferer who identified the first Lyme disease bacteria in 1984 stated:

"The controversy in Lyme disease research is a shameful affair. And I say that because the whole thing is politically tainted. Money goes to people who have, for the past 30 years, produced the same thing-nothing."

It can be expedient for organisations to respond positively to stakeholder inputs and recommend research. Be careful what you wish for, you might not get what you expect. Research is a must, good research is not a given.


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