A new study identified Raman spectroscopy as a promising diagnostic approach for Lyme disease, a condition that affects nearly 500,000 new patients annually, according to the Bay Area Lyme Foundation.

Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a sponsor of Lyme disease research, announced results of the laboratory study, which was published in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology.

Ramen Spectroscopy Study

Conducted by one of Bay Area Lyme Foundation’s Emerging Leader Award winners, Artem Rogovskyy, PhD, DVM, along with researchers from Texas A&M University, the study identified Borreliainfection with 88% accuracy, 85% sensitivity, and 90% specificity using Raman spectroscopy, a light-based test commonly used in chemistry labs, to evaluate human blood samples provided by Bay Area Lyme Foundation’s Lyme Disease Biobank.

“By identifying a unique spectrum fingerprint to detect Lyme borreliosis faster, Raman spectroscopy has the potential to diagnose the disease earlier,” says Rogovskyy, associate professor of Veterinary Pathobiology at the School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University. “We hope that developing an effective, robust, and rapid diagnostic test will help overcome current challenges in Lyme disease diagnosis.”

The study aims to address the immediate need for more sensitive diagnostics in Lyme disease as the current gold standard diagnostic has been shown to be insensitive in up to 60% of early-stage patients and up to 30% of late-stage patients.

“The lack of an accurate diagnostic test is not only a challenge for clinicians trying to properly diagnose and treat patients, but also makes clinical trials for new treatments difficult,” says Linda Giampa, executive director, Bay Area Lyme Foundation. “Our hope is that new approaches like this one will allow for early detection and treatment of all patients with Lyme disease.”

Rogovskyy’s team is in the process of validating the test through additional studies and has plans to conduct a clinical study in the next two years.

This study was made possible by the 2020 Bay Area Lyme Foundation Emerging Leader Award, and the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Insect Vector Disease Seed Grant. Project Lyme also donated to this effort through the support of the Bay Area Lyme Foundation research grant program.