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University of New Haven professor’s research focuses on ‘horrible’ Lyme disease (Sapi)

Antares in NYC

Senior Member
Great article on the research studies on Lyme persistence and biofilms by researcher Eva Sapi. She's interviewed in the article, and had some very interesting things to say:
  • She suffered Lyme disease herself.

  • Like Dr. McDonald, she has been able to prove that borrelia spirochetes create biofilms that protect them from antibiotics.

  • She's been testing several medicines and agents that would help dissolve the borrelia biofilm, so antibiotics can penetrate it and more effectively kill the spirochetes. One of them is a new abx being tested called Curza.

  • She also speaks of bee venom and the natural sweetener Stevia as agents that proved effective (very interesting).

  • She was told by her school research authorities when she decided to focus her research on Lyme, “that asking certain questions was not allowed” within the tight-knit community of Lyme disease researchers. She worked around these constrains by researching Lyme at a CT state level.

  • Despite that, and her peer-reviewed validated studies, she organized a conference that other researchers in the field tried to shut down because of fears that it would propagate her way of thinking. (Yeah, I wonder who those people that tried to censor her were...)

Link to article:


New Haven Register
University of New Haven professor’s research focuses on ‘horrible’ Lyme disease

By Mark Zaretsky, New Haven Register

WEST HAVEN: For years, Eva Sapi was an ovarian cancer researcher, first as a post-doctoral researcher at the Yale School of Medicine and then at University of New Haven.

Then, she had a nasty bout with Lyme disease, a “horrible disease” that, as she put it, “made me realize that other diseases could be as important as ovarian cancer.” Her own experience with an often-misunderstood disease that in her case initially was misdiagnosed changed the course of her professional life.

Now Sapi, an associate professor and University Research Scholar in UNH’s Department of Biology and Environmental Science, heads the university’s Lyme disease research group, working with more than 10 student researchers at a time

Together, they do groundbreaking research into the way borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, can rearrange its structure, including by forming a slime-like “biofilm” that she believes enables the disease to “hide” during efforts to treat it with antibiotics.

The research investigates ways in which biofilm might allow borrelia to resist harsh environmental conditions such as antibiotic treatments.

Sapi’s work includes clinical trials with Curza, a Provo, Utah, pharmaceutical research company developing a new drug that aims to penetrate the biofilm to more effectively treat the disease.

Having done an initial clinical trial at UNH that found the drug to be 60 percent more effective in treating Lyme disease than traditional antiobiotics, Curza now is entering a second phase that at the University of California, Davis that will test the drug on mice.

But one drug may just be the tip of the iceberg, Sapi suggested.

Over a number of years, “We looked at over 100 different agents. The Curza one was one of them,” Sapi said. But “we found several agents which worked as well.”

One of the agents that worked particularly well as a possible treatment for Lyme disease was, of all things, Stevia, the natural sweetener, Sapi said.

“It actually worked very well for borrelia,” she said. “Bee venom also was very effective. So we have several agents that are at least as effective as the antibiotics.” (...)

Continued in the article: http://www.nhregister.com/health/20...ors-research-focuses-on-horrible-lyme-disease
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Antares in NYC

Senior Member
I would also like to reproduce here a great reply to this article in the comments section of the New Haven Registrar.
It's quite worth reading:

Holly Ahern
Speaking as a microbiologist, the comments attributed to Dr. Linda Bockenstadt of Yale University in this article are indicative of the scientific bias that surrounds any research related to Borrelia, the bacterial agent that causes Lyme disease. By suggesting that there’s no “proof” that Borrelia spp. form biofilms in vivo, Dr. Bockenstadt is either being deceptive or else she's revealing ignorance of the genetics and biology of these remarkable bacteria. Borrelia spp. have the same quorum sensing and biofilm-associated genes as other bacteria. Microscopic investigations of brain tissue shows spirochetal biofilms. I personally have watched Borrelia burgdorferi produce a biofilm in real time using phase contrast microscopy.

Dr. Bockenstadt's opinion is reflective of a long held bias that has effectively roadblocked any significant steps forward in Lyme disease research in over 20 years. The inaccuracy of blood tests and restrictive approaches to antibiotic treatment leave one in three patients with persisting and progressively worsening disease symptoms. Unfortunately for Lyme disease patients, the majority of the physicians and physician-scientists who populate the panel convened by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) to develop the medical guidelines, which will strongly influence national health care policy pertaining to diagnosis and treatment of tickborne diseases, share this view.

Although scientists like Dr. Sapi should be recruited to serve on this panel to ensure the scientific evidence is inclusive and objective, they are not. Dr. Bockenstadt serves on the panel, but Dr. Sapi was not invited. The omission of scientists and physicians who oppose the prevailing definition of Lyme disease as a simple bacterial infection that's "hard to catch and easy to cure," speaks loudly for itself. As a scientist, I’m calling on the IDSA to make the process transparent. If the science you’re selecting as “evidence” is truly so absolute and settled, then, let it be revealed through a rigorous unbiased review process and debate of ALL of it, including Dr. Sapi’s.

Very well said indeed!