By

Carrie Kolar

| 03/03/2016

New Nanotrap Lyme Test: Q & A with Dr. Andrew Heyman

New Nanotrap Lyme Test: Q & A with Dr. Andrew Heyman

As many sufferers know, Lyme disease is an extremely difficult disease to detect. The current standard test takes weeks to months to return results, and the detection rate is low. Here, we ask Dr. Heyman about the development and results of a new Lyme disease test, the Nanotrap Lyme Test.

Q. Why do we need a new test?

 A. The current standard Lyme disease test is a two-step testing process that tests for the immune response to the presence of Lyme disease. In this process, the patient undergoes a general test called ELISA, and if the results are positive they undergo the Western Blot test, which is more specific to Lyme disease. However, Lyme disease is difficult to detect, and the results of the two-part test are poor. In a comparison test on patients with Lyme-like symptoms, 0 out of 100 patients tested positive for Lyme disease under the two-step test, while 41 out of 100 tested positive under the Nanotrap Lyme Test.

 Q. How does it work?

A. Unlike the two-step test, the Nanotrap test does not focus on the individual immune response. Instead, it directly tests for the bacteria that causes Lyme. There is a protein on the outside of the bacteria called Outer Surface Protein A, or OSP-A, that is only present in the forms that cause illness in humans. There are no other proteins like it, and it only occurs in the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. The Nanotrap Lyme Test uses a technology called nanotrap, a micro filter, to test a patient’s urine for the presence of the protein. If the protein is present in the urine, it means that the patient is infected. The test is very sensitive, so it detects even small amounts of the protein.

Q. How was it developed?

 A. The test was developed in a partnership between George Mason University and a private biotech company called Ceres as part of a state initiative. Virginia has one of the highest Lyme disease rates in the country, which is additionally worrying because the poor detection levels of the two-step test means that the rate is probably much higher than people know. Because of this, microbiology experts were brought to George Mason with the directive to create a better test.

 Q. What is the Nanotrap Test’s accuracy rate for acute and chronic Lyme disease?

 A. The sensitivity of the test is around 90% for patients who have not been treated for Lyme disease. We’re currently trying to devise a way to test how effective it is for patients who have already undergone any treatment for Lyme disease. The nanotrap test can also be used to check whether or not a course of treatment has been successful by testing whether or not bacteria remain in the patient.

 Q. What is the turnaround time on lab results?

 A. The turnaround time from the test to the results is 10 – 14 days.

 Q. How much does it cost? Does insurance cover it?

 A. It costs somewhere between $400-500. Insurance does not cover it at the moment.

Q. Is it available to the public?

 A. Yes, it is available to the general public now. Patients can get the test at Heyman Health in Aldie, VA and at Dr. Sam Shor’s office in Reston, VA, or order it from the Ceres website at http://www.ceresnano.com/#!nanotrap–test-order/eishi. Directions for collecting and shipping the sample to the Ceres lab from processing come with the test kit.

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