Lyme disease is an infectious disease, caused due to the bacterium – Borrelia burgdorferi, which is transmitted to humans through bites of infected adult black-legged ticks. Most human infections are caused by bites of nymphs (immature tick). Ticks can attach to any part of the human body and can transmit the infection, if attached to the host body for 36 to 48 hours. Blacklegged ticks are responsible for spreading Lyme disease in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and north-central areas of the U.S. However, western black-legged ticks spread Lyme disease in the regions along the Pacific Coast. These regions are thus, expected to witness rapid growth of the market for Lyme disease treatment in the near future.
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The early symptoms associated with Lyme disease include fever, headaches, chills, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes, and characteristic skin rash (erythema migrans). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), erythema migrans affects around 70% to 80% of infected people, worldwide. However, untreated Lyme disease can lead to further discomfort, which includes intermittent pain in muscles, tendons, joints, and bones, coupled with severe headaches, neck stiffness, arthritis with severe joint pain, swelling in knees, facial palsy, increased heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat, nerve pain, and inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.
Lyme carditis is a rare complication in Lyme disease, which occurs when infection invades the tissue of the heart. This can interfere with normal heart rhythm resulting in mild, moderate, or severe heart blockage. Patients may experience palpitations, lightheadedness, blackouts, chest pain, and dyspnea. According to the National Surveillance Data, done by National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System (NNDSS), between 2001 and 2010, Lyme carditis affected around 1% of patients suffering from Lyme disease, in the U.S. Lyme carditis can be treated with intravenous or oral antibiotics, preferably ceftriaxone. However, some patients might require implantation of a temporary or permanent pacemaker, depending upon the severity of infection.
Antibiotics are found to be the most effective treatment for Lyme disease. Patients with early stages of Lyme disease recover rapidly and completely with appropriate antibiotics such as doxycycline, amoxicillin, and cefuroxime axetil. Patients with certain neurological or cardiac illness may be treated with intravenous ceftriaxone. Patients bearing chronic symptoms of Lyme disease for over 6 months, can recover within a few weeks, through oral antibiotic treatment.
According to International Lyme and Associated Disease Society (ILADS), Lyme disease is often difficult to diagnose and treat, resulting in persistent infections. ILADS recommends individualized treatment based on the severity of symptoms, tick-borne coinfections, and patient’s response to treatment. However, no single antibiotic or combination of antibiotics appears to be capable of eliminating the Lyme disease infection. Therefore, the prevailing cases of Lyme disease and large scope to develop the ideal antibiotic for treatment, are expected to boost the Lyme disease treatment market in the near future.
However, prolonged exposure to antibiotics could possibly wipe out beneficial intestinal flora, leading to various health problems. This, in turn, is expected to impose a threat to growth of the Lyme disease treatment market.
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in July 2017, granted fast track designation to the first vaccine for Lyme disease – VLA15, created by Valneva SE – a Europe-based biotech firm, which is engaged in producing commercial vaccines for travelers. The company plans to initiate the phase 2 studies in early 2018. Introduction of new vaccine are further expected to drive growth of the Lyme disease treatment market.
Increasing incidence to drive the Lyme disease treatment market in North America
Globally, North America accounts for largest share of the market, owing to the highest number of Lyme disease cases reported here. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 28,453 confirmed cases of Lyme disease and 9 new cases per 1,00,000 people were recorded in the U.S. during the 2005 – 2015. The European market is also expected to experience rapid growth in the Lyme disease treatment market in near future. According to the 2014 factsheet of European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), prevalence of Lyme disease is steadily increasing.
The major players operating in the Lyme disease treatment market include Lupin Ltd, Mylan N.V., Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd., Pfizer Inc., G&W Laboratories, Inc., Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Sandoz AG, GlaxoSmithKline plc., and Hospira Inc.