© 2023 WSKG

601 Gates Road
Vestal, NY 13850

217 N Aurora St
Ithaca, NY 14850

FCC Public Files:
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Guthrie Clinic is recruiting volunteers for its Lyme disease vaccine trial

A deer tick nymph crawls on a human body. (Andrew Nuss via Flickr)
A deer tick nymph crawls on a human body. (Andrew Nuss via Flickr)

Each year, 7,000 New Yorkers get Lyme disease. Pennsylvania leads the nation in Lyme cases.

There is still no approved vaccine to protect people from the tick-borne illness. But residents in the Twin Tiers could help change that.

The Guthrie Clinic, which serves northern Pennsylvania and much of the Southern Tier, is recruiting volunteers for a new Lyme disease vaccine trial. The vaccine was created by Pfizer and Valneva. An earlier vaccine for Lyme was discontinued in 2002, in part because of a lack of demand.

Dr. Victor Kolade leads Guthrie’s research for the vaccine trial. He said Lyme disease has become endemic in the region, which is partly why the clinical trial is happening here. Kolade said if the vaccine works, it could make a real difference.

“It will be an opportunity for people to be able to have a vaccine to protect them against Lyme, reduce the incidence of Lyme disease, protect older people, protect children,” Kolade said. “I think this would be huge.”

Participants will get four injections of the vaccine in their upper arm and attend in-person study visits and blood testing for the next two and a half years. There’s no cost or health insurance requirement to be a part of the trial. Guthrie said they will compensate participants for their time.

People who are at risk of contracting Lyme are eligible, such as people who work outside or spend a lot of time outdoors, or who have pets who could bring ticks inside.

Anyone above five years old can participate in the trial, as long as they haven’t tested positive for Lyme in the past three months. People who have had medical complications from a Lyme infection are not eligible.