The method, still in the research stage, uses nanotubes – tiny threads of carbon barely visible to the human eye – attached to antibodies that react with particular proteins carried by the bacteria responsible for the disease.
"We're looking directly for the Lyme organisms," said physicist A. T. Charlie Johnson, who led the multidisciplinary group at the University of Pennsylvania with bacteriologist Dustin Brisson. "This could be very useful in detecting early-stage infection."
In general, earlier treatment, typically with antibiotics, produces better results. "Treatment is likely to be complicated if you don't catch it early on," said Paul Lantos, M.D., a specialist in Lyme disease at Duke University.
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