The Lyme panel tests for 4 different genes that are found in Borrelia burgdorferi, the most common cause of Lyme disease in the United States, and 8 common Lyme disease c0-infectors including Babesia microti, Babesia divergens, Babesia duncani, Bartonella bacilliformis, Bartonella henselae, Bartonella quintanta, Borrelia miyamotoi, Borrelia recurrentis, Ehrlichia chaffensis and Anaplasma phagocytophilum. Testing of Lyme co-infectors (other tick-transmitted organisms) indicates likely infection with the Lyme spirochete as well.
A positive PCR result from the DNA Connexions Lyme test indicates the presence of DNA from B. burgdorferi and/or other co-infectors. A negative result does not prove a patient is not infected with a tick borne infection, rather it indicates the absence of detectable Lyme and/or other tick borne co-infections. A patients ability to fight the disease, stage of infection, and timing of courses of antibiotics are only some of the factors that may affect the detectability of the spirochetes DNA.
How is DNA Connexions Lyme Panel different than other tests for Lyme?
Our is a direct test, looking for the DNA of the organism itself. Western Blot is indirect, detection of antibodies, if being produced. Our booklet of references shows previous research on PCR, comparison to antibody testing, as well as studies showing the urinary tract is a site of spirochetal persistence.
After DNA purification we run each sample in a Quality Control step. What this shows is: the purification process worked and there is amplifiable, not degraded, DNA. This also significantly lessens our false negative rate, as we have verified the presence of amplifiable DNA.
What does your Lyme Panel test for?
The test uses primers which are specific for the genes of the Borrelia burgdorferi flagella, outer surface protein A, B and C. A positive test result for any of these 4 genes indicates the presence of the Lyme organism. Testing of common Lyme co-infectors (other tick-transmitted organisms) indicates likely infection with the Lyme spirochete as well. DNA Connexions currently tests for Babesia divergens, Babesia duncani, Babesia microti, Bartonella bacilliformis, Bartonella henselae, Bartonella quintana, Borrelia miyamotoi, Borrelia recurrentis, and Ehrlichia chaffeensis and Anaplasma phagocytophilum.
How does the DNA Connexions Lyme test differ from the Western Blot test?
The Lyme test offered by DNA Connexions is a PCR (DNA based) test, not an antibody or Western Blot test. The western blot is a widely used analytical technique used to detect specific proteins in a sample of tissue homogenate or extract. It uses gel electrophoresis to separate native proteins by 3-D structure or denatured proteins by the size of the polypeptide. The proteins are then transferred to a membrane (typically nitrocellulose or PVDF), where they are stained with antibodies specific to the target protein. The gel electrophoresis step is included in western blot analysis to resolve the issue of the cross-reactivity of antibodies. The problem with the western blot is that it is protein antibody based. Proteins denature under a variety of conditions, making it unrecognizable to the antibody specific for that protein. Antibodies, even monoclonal antibodies have a lower specificity for their target than primers in a PCR mix. Another issue with the antibody assay is that it is a measure of your immune system’s response to the presence of the spirochete. As the disease progresses and changes so to does your immune response, making detection at any stage of the disease difficult. PCR utilizes amplification of the microbial DNA itself for its target. One copy is turned into a billion copies in 2 hours. A positive result indicated the presence of DNA from the disease causing agent (Borrelia burgdorferi and/or other co-infectors), while a negative result indicates the absence of detectable B. burgdorferi and/or other co-infectors in the specimen.