New Lyme Tests That Set the Standard
I went to the ILADS Conference in Boston last weekend. ILADS represents doctors, other health care practitioners, and patients devoted to helping people devastated by Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses. I am inspired and humbled by the dedication and passion shown by so many in this field. I have learned a lot in the two years I have been going.
A big takeaway this year came from Igenex, a leader in cutting-edge and more accurate Lyme testing.
- IgX Spot: this test uses T cells rather than B cells to detect Lyme earlier. IgX spot uses specific antigens in the bacteria causing Lyme to pick up an immune response. This test can pick up infection as early as 3 days after a bite, and can be used 6 months or more after infection to pick up activity when regular antibody levels have fallen. The cost of this test is $295 and it is not yet routinely covered by insurance.
- IgG and IgM Immunoblot: This test is a breakthrough in that it is “one stop shopping” to detect ALL strains of Lyme. The pure proteins used in this study prevent cross-reactions, somewhat common on Western Blot testing, which falsely show Lyme disease as present when one could have either no infection or be infected with a virus. This test is accurate over 90% of the time. I see this being adopted by the Centers for Disease Control as a new standard. The cost for this test is $450, and can be ordered with a Lyme Screen (an older test) for $490.50. Insurance reimbursement is available in some cases.
To sum up: we have new tools to help detect Lyme disease. The IgX spot is ideal for early and late detection, when antibody levels are low. The Immunoblot is more accurate than previous tests such as the Western Blot, and can pick up Lyme from all major strains, 4-5 weeks post bite.