A vaccine consisting of recombinant Borrelia burgdorferi outer-surface protein A to prevent lyme disease

Leonard H. Sigal, John M. Zahradnik, Philip Lavin, Sondra J. Patella, Gary Bryant, Ray Haselby, Eileen Hilton, Mark Kunkel, Debra Adler-Klein, Terrence Doherty, Janine Evans, Steven E. Malawista

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313 Scopus citations


Background: Lyme disease is a multisystem inflammatory disease caused by infection with the tick-borne spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi and is the most common vector-borne infection in the United States. We assessed the efficacy of a recombinant vaccine consisting of outer-surface protein A (OspA) without adjuvant in subjects at risk for Lyme disease. Methods: For this double- blind trial, 10,305 subjects 18 years of age or older were recruited at 14 sites in areas of the United States where Lyme disease was endemic; the subjects were randomly assigned to receive either placebo (5149 subject) or 30 μg of OspA vaccine (5156 subjects). The first two injections were administered 1 month apart, and 7515 subjects also received a booster dose at 12 months. The subjects were observed for two seasons during which the risk of transmission of Lyme disease was high. The primary end point was the number of new clinically and serologically confirmed cases of Lyme disease. Results: The efficacy of the vaccine was 68 percent in the first year of the study in the entire population and 92 percent in the second year among the 3745 subjects who received the third injection. The vaccine was well tolerated. There was a higher incidence of mild, self-limited local and systemic reactions in the vaccine group, but only during the seven days after vaccination. There was no significant increase in the frequency of arthritis or neurologic events in vaccine recipients. Conclusions: In this study, OspA vaccine was safe and effective in the prevention of Lyme disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-222
Number of pages7
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 23 1998


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