American Society for Microbiology Journal of Clinical Microbiology

  1. Jessica L. Snydera,
  2. Heidi Giesea,
  3. Cheryl Bandoski-Gralinskia,
  4. Jessica Townsenda,
  5. Beck E. Jacobsona,
  6. Robert Shiversa,
  7. Anna M. Schotthoeferb,
  8. Thomas R. Fritscheb,
  9. Clayton Greenb,
  10. Steven M. Callisterc,
  11. John A. Brandad and
  12. Thomas J. Lowerya

+ Author Affiliations


In early Lyme disease (LD), serological testing is insensitive and seroreactivity may reflect active or past infection. Here, we evaluated a novel assay for the direct detection of three species of Borrelia spirochetes in whole blood. The T2 Magnetic Resonance (T2MR®) assay platform was used to amplify Borrelia DNA released from intact spirochetes and to detect amplicon. Analytical sensitivity was determined from blood spiked with known concentrations of spirochetes, and the assay’s limit of detection was found to be in the single cell/mL range: 5 cells/mL for B. afzelii and 8 cells/mL for B. burgdorferi and B. garinii. Clinical samples (N=66) from confirmed or suspected early LD patients were also analyzed. B. burgdorferi was detected using T2MR in 2/2 (100%) of blood samples from patients with confirmed early LD, based on the presence of erythema migrans and documentation of seroconversion or a positive real-time PCR blood test. T2MR detected B. burgdorferi in blood samples from 17/54 (31%) of patients with probable LD, based on the presence of erythema migrans without documented seroconversion, or documented seroconversion in patients with a compatible clinical syndrome but without erythema migrans. Out of 21 clinical samples tested by real-time PCR, only 1 was positive and 13 were negative with agreement with T2MR. An additional 7 samples that were negative by real-time PCR were positive with T2MR. Therefore, T2MR enables low LoD for Borrelia spp. in whole blood samples and is able to detect B. burgdorferi in clinical samples.



What an amazing advance!  Using T2MRI sensitive enough to detect as little as 1 organism/cc of whole blood!  The ever-progressing technology is amazing!

Dr. Raymond Oenbrink
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