Different Forms of Borrelia

Borrelia are able to change their shape within our body. In this way, they can hide from the cells of our immune system and are also resistant to antibiotics.

Antibiotic treatment through critical eyes: There are many patients who remain ill after treatment and who suffer from numerous symptoms. Reason: Antibiotics are not effective, and are only slightly effective against the Borrelia forms developed in advanced stages.

Spirochetes (active form)

At this stage, after an infection, the Borrelia bacteria are in their original form, the spindleshaped spirochete. In this active form the Borrelia are able to move quickly, to survive even in visceral substances (blood), to penetrate tissue or cells and thus trigger intracellular infections.

Rounded form (latent form)

At this stage, the spirochetes can quickly contract to a spherical shape. This is a latent form, a “dormant“ form of the Borrelia, which often develops as a protective form when the environmental conditions change and the bacteria feel threatened. This may occur, for example, in an antibiotic treatment. This form is “invisible“ to the immune system and develops a high antibiotic resistance, which can be the cause of a disease relapse.

This is especially dramatic since the effect of the conventional antibiotic therapy method remains limited at this stage due to the high antibiotic resistance. Reconversion to the active form of spirochetes is possible as soon as the external conditions have improved for the reproduction and growth of the bacteria.

Biofilm (latent, complex form)

Another form is the so-called biofilm, which is a complex combination of all Borrelia forms. The biofilm is a kind of nest that adheres to natural surfaces and secretes a slimy, glue-like substance from complex carbohydrates and many other molecules (e.g. toxins).

This form serves as a very effective protective mechanism against immune cells and other components, e.g. antibiotics for killing the bacteria. The biofilm is often embedded in muscle and joint structures, but can also attack any other organ. In this way, Borrelia can remain in the human or animal body for years, even decades, and cause numerous damages.

The different forms which the borreliosis bacteria can adopt reflect the different stages of disease and its persistence.

Restricted efficacy potential shows limitations of pharmaceutical medicine

In case of a bacterial infection, most people are looking towards drug therapies, especially antibiotics. Thus, this is the conventional treatment of borreliosis, which means the oral or intravenous administration of antibiotics. The antibiotics doxycycline, amoxicillin or cefuroxim-axetil are usually prescribed in the early phase of the disease, over a period of 14 - 28 days.

If recognized early and treated with the appropriate medication, a certain success rate can be expected. However, with antibiotic treatment, the success is limited in the early phase of the disease. For example, symptoms of Lyme borreliosis persist for several months or years in 10 to 20% of patients after completion of antibiotic therapy. Although long-term antibiotics are not recommended, they are often administered as first-choice therapies.

There is no evidence of sustained efficacy in the advanced stages of the disease. Obviously, an ongoing antibiotic therapy means great stress for the human organism. Even after short-term antibiotic therapy, it takes months until the endogenous colonization with bacteria (as they are necessary in the intestine, for example) is re-established.