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Watch interview of Prof Ying Zhang on Borrelia persisters

Interview with Prof. Ying Zhang at the NorVect Conference 2015


Published on Sep 29, 2015

Prof Ying Zhang from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health explains why Lyme disease is so difficult to treat. Having worked with Tuberculosis (TB) for many years, he sees the similarities and differences between these to bacteria. With Tuberculosis it is known that you have to treat with certain drug combinations that kill the growing form and the non-growing form (persisters) and if you treat shorter than 6 months, the patient will get a relapse.

The bacterium that causes Lyme disease is much more advanced than the TB bacterium, and the main reason is that it also takes a persisting form. These persister forms of the Borrelia bacteria cannot be cultured.

The two views – ILADS and IDSA are two different ways of seeing the same disease. Prof. Zhang thinks they are both right. When it comes to acute Lyme disease, IDSA is right. Then you only need shorter courses of treatment. When the disease turns chronic, longer courses of treatment with the right drug combinations are needed (ILADS view).

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  1. Remember the ‘L’ form of the disease? The Spirochete can ball itself up and harden against antibiotics whilst in it’s ‘L’ form. Long term treatment is necessary because it must come out of this form and be vulnerable to antibiotics when dividing. Unfortunately, the longer you’ve had the infection, the longer it takes to divide and replicate. It’s not uncommon to divide every 30 days.

  2. All I know is I was a totally healthy active 49 yr old and ended up with spinal taps due to horrible jaw pain, muscle aches nite sweats weight loss cognitive and burro impairment and finally dx with LYMES carditis. That was in July 2015, I have almost recovered but still have stabbing nerve pain in my rt leg. It was a nightmare. Will this leg pain go away? My only tx was 5 days IVABT the oral foxy for 4 weeks

  3. Was this in Canada? You’re very luck that you recovered on such a short course of abx. I cannot even imagine how that would be possible unless you got treatment right away after being bitten.

    I’ve had a Syphilis infection for over 20 years now. It’s a Spirochete just like Lyme. None of the standard provincial blood tests ever came back positive. It’s funny you mentioned jaw pain. I know the nerve clusters at the back of my head are infected. I still get terrible jaw, bone and nerve pain but some alternative therapies are helping.

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