A Lyme disease vaccine may be on the horizon with a couple of companies coming forward and reporting progress in its development this year.

Biotechnological company Moderna said in a statement earlier this month that it has two candidates — currently designated mRNA-1982 and mRNA-1975 — for a Lyme disease vaccine underway, both using messenger RNA to target specific antibodies that cause Lyme disease.

Messenger RNA, or mRNA as it’s commonly called, prompts the body to make a harmless protein that’s enough to get the immune system to notice and react if it meets the actual virus.

Axios said Pfizer and Valneva combined efforts to make a Lyme disease vaccine that is in the late stages of clinical trials. That vaccine is called VLA15.

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Past attempts

Forbes reported a previous Lyme disease vaccine was pulled from the market in 2002. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the reason was “insufficient consumer demand.”

This may no longer be a concern for the vaccine, with extremely high cases of tick-borne diseases being reported in the U.S.

Researchers have attributed the rise of Lyme disease and other tick-borne disease cases in the U.S. to factors that include climate change and expanding deer populations, according to the Deseret News.

Moderna’s statement said with case numbers in the U.S. and Europe reaching 120,000 yearly, “there is a significant quality of life burden created by this pathogen,” which mostly impacts younger kids and older adults.

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Pfizer said in a statement that a hiccup in testing required them to reduce the number of people in its clinical trial, but the change wasn’t due to safety concerns regarding the investigational vaccine or an adverse reaction to it by one of those participating in the trial.

The companies will move forward in clinical trials, working with other partners to submit the vaccine for approval to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency as soon as 2025 if Phase 3 is successful, the statement said.

Looking forward

Axios said researchers are exploring different efforts to prevent Lyme disease, including immunizing mice in areas with high tick populations and developing more specific ways to detect Lyme disease in biomarkers the body releases.

The CDC said once a vaccine is approved by the FDA, it will work with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to develop recommendations for areas in the U.S. where a Lyme disease vaccine would be the most beneficial and to increase awareness of the vaccine.