Lyme Disease Testing

A Better Lyme Test: The C6 Borrelia Burgdorferi

The C6 B. burgdorferi Lyme test surpasses the standard one in almost every way. It’s cheaper, faster, more sensitive, comparably specific, and detects more Lyme strains.

A Faster, More Convenient Lyme Test

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s standard Lyme test comes in two parts. First, you take a screen. If that’s positive or equivocal, then you take the western blot. As a result, you must wait for your first test results before possibly getting the second.

The CDC's Two-Tiered Lyme Test

The C6, on the other hand, is just one test, so it’s more convenient, and you get the final results faster. 

More Comprehensive

Plus, the standard two-tiered test only detects one Lyme strain. In contrast, the C6 detects three major strains of bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Partly because of that, the C6 outperforms the standard test in sensitivity.

A More Sensitive Lyme Test

As I explained in my last post, more sensitive tests yield fewer false negatives.

According to Oxford Immunetics, “Lyme disease scientists conducted a major study…. Their results showed that the C6 Lyme ELISA test delivered higher sensitivity than the two-tier system (75% vs. 51.5%)….”

In other words, on the two-tiered test, almost half the people with Lyme tested negative! That’s an incredibly high rate of false negatives. No wonder so many Lyme sufferers go undiagnosed and untreated for so long. The C6 catches a quarter more people with Lyme. That’s a significant improvement.

At every stage, the C6 tops the standard test in sensitivity, but especially in early Lyme.

In Conquering Lyme Disease, Fallon says, “In another large-sample size study . . . compared to two-tiered testing, the C6 ELISA as a stand-alone test had a sensitivity in early Lyme disease of 66.5 percent versus 35.2 percent; in early neurologic Lyme disease of 88.6 percent versus 77.3 percent; and in Lyme arthritis of 98.3 percent versus 95.6 percent.”

Conquering Lyme Disease: Science Bridges the Great Divide

But is the C6 as specific as the standard one?

Comparably Specific

More specific tests yield fewer false positives. 

According to a article, “Recent studies examining the sensitivity and specificity of various test protocols noted that the Immunetics® C6 Bburgdorferi ELISA™ and the two-tier approach have superior specificity compared to proposed replacements….” 

The C6 and the standard two-tiered test are the most specific Lyme tests we have. In other words, with both, false positives are rare. 

According to another article, “The specificities of C6 ELISA and two-tier testing in over 2200 blood donors, patients with other conditions, and Lyme disease vaccine recipients were found to be 98.9% and 99.5%, respectively….”

In other words, the standard test delivers a false positive one out of every 200 times. The C6 is only slightly worse at a rate of around two per 200.


Finally, the C6 costs less than the two-tiered test, and who doesn’t like to save money?

A Better Lyme Test: The C6 Borrelia Burgdorferi

The C6 rivals the standard test in specificity and surpasses it in cost, speed, and sensitivity. Still, the C6 has a false negative rate of twenty-five percent! In other words, one out of four people with Lyme will test negative. Sadly, it’s the best FDA-approved, insurance-covered option we have. 

So, let’s say you test negative on the C6, but you still think you may have Lyme. Is there another option? Read my next blog!

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