An Anti-Lyme Disease Protein is Found in Human Perspiration, According to Research

It is especially aggravating that canines may now vaccinate against Lyme disease, yet their human partners are still susceptible to the infamous ailment. Serious signs of Lyme disease include headaches, aches in the muscles and joints, exhaustion, fever, chills, swollen glands, stiff necks, and poor appetite.

Similar to COVID-19 and other ailments, Lyme disease can also be chronic, which means that some unlucky people who are bitten by a deer tick only once may have to deal with the condition for the rest of their lives.

However, a new study that was published in the journal Nature Communications gives people looking for a successful Lyme disease treatment a ray of hope—or, as some might put it, a glimmer of sweat.

Scientists at the University of Helsinki and researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology collaborated to identify a protein in human sweat that wards off Lyme disease. The protein, known as the SCGB1D2 protein, is located at the gene encoding for Secretoglobin family 1D member 2, and around one-third of all humans appear to carry a genetic variation of this protein that is linked to vulnerability to Lyme disease.

Even while they are unsure exactly how SCGB1D2 inhibits the growth of the Lyme disease-causing bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, they nevertheless think that if the protein is appropriately extracted, it may serve as the foundation for skin treatments that either treat or prevent particularly stubborn illnesses.

“These data suggest that SCGB1D2 is a host defense factor present in the skin, sweat, and other secretions which protects against [Borrelia burgdorferi] infection and opens an exciting therapeutic avenue for Lyme disease,” the abstract of the study states.

One of the study’s senior authors, Michal Caspi Tal, a principal research scientist in the Department of Biological Engineering at MIT, said in a statement: “This protein may provide some protection from Lyme disease, and we think there are real implications here for a preventative and possibly a therapeutic based on this protein.”