Advantages of the B16+ test compared to other procedures
The B16+ test for diagnosing Lyme disease has numerous advantages:
Firstly, it doesn't comprise just one test, but a whole series of 16 mutually coordinated individual tests which are evaluated as a whole. The German Chronic Disease Laboratory's test procedure is more accurate and reliable than many of the tests currently available on the market.
These tests are used to formulate the diagnosis and to monitor and check the success of the treatment administered to the Lyme disease patient.
This test series largely excludes the risk of misdiagnosis through false-negative findings which frequently occurs when using other Lyme disease tests. Conversely, this gives certainty to all those who are suspected of having Lyme disease but whose tests were previously negative or non-conclusive.
Many Lyme disease patients suffer from a wide variety of health problems for many years, and frequently receive inadequate treatment due to the diversity of the symptoms and the unreliability of the tests. One reliable test result and the certainty of infection can put an end to the odyssey from doctor to doctor and facilitate proper treatment.
Disadvantages of traditional Lyme disease tests
In order to confirm a diagnosis of suspected Lyme disease, the patient's blood is sent to the laboratory for testing. If the Borrelia bacteria are present in the patient's body, the patient will produce antibodies which will attempt to combat the bacteria. By using so-called Borrelia antigens, it is possible to find out in the lab whether these antibodies are present in the patient's blood because the antigens used bond with the antibodies. At the next stage of testing, the Borrelia antibodies are made visible by means of a binding reaction.
The most commonly used tests are called ELISA and IFT. These are screening tests which aim to detect the presence of Borrelia antibodies. If these tests are positive, a confirmation test known as a Blot test is carried out. Unfortunately, these standard tests are very inaccurate and can yield false results, as they screen for just one type of Borrelia, although there are actually several species. This means a patient may have Lyme disease even if the test results are negative. These results are described as "false-negative".
Why standard tests are so inaccurate in diagnosing Lyme disease
The inaccuracy of the standard tests is due firstly to the nature of the tests and secondly to the Lyme disease pathogens themselves, as there are numerous different types. One tick can transmit several types of Lyme disease bacteria simultaneously. Borrelia bacteria are also masters of disguise and can change their surface structure in the host's body.
Then there is the problem of the tests themselves. Each test contains certain defined antigens. These antigens can only bond with specific antibodies. However, there are several species of Borrelia bacteria which can cause disease, and therefore also several different types of antibody and antigen. If you only look for A, you will not find B or C.
What's more, every laboratory uses different test kits. The test result may therefore be negative in one laboratory and positive in another.
As most laboratories perform a large number of different blood tests and state health insurance companies only pay for the standard tests, they are often unable to perform more precise Lyme disease tests.
The German Chronic Disease Laboratory aims to bypass exactly this problem. The laboratory specialises in detecting various Borrelia antibodies and co-infections. It uses not just one but a whole battery of tests to obtain better results.
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