The Project

What do lizards have to do with Lyme disease?

The western fence lizard, which is native to California, plays two contrasting roles in the tick and Lyme disease cycle. For one, the lizards, a common host of the ticks, spread the bacteria—Borrelia burgdorferi—found in Lyme disease. However, one other aspect of the lizard’s contributions has been long overlooked by the scientific community: their blood contains a “borreliacidal factor” that kills the Lyme disease-causing bacteria.

Western Fence Lizard | Nature Collective
The western fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis)
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What exactly is this B factor? No one knows. Other than identifying it as a protein, scientists have not been successful or persistent in isolating this blood component that could potentially provide a more permanent and global cure to Lyme disease, even for those who are chronically diagnosed.

That’s where this project comes in. It’s time to find the B factor.