Garrapat set to launch crowdfunding campaign for Lyme disease prevention technology

Published: 15 October 2015

Garrapat, based at Roslin BioCentre, is developing a novel tick removal technology and diagnostic service that will have a significant impact on preventing Lyme disease worldwide.

Chronic Lyme disease is a serious tick-borne infection that can leave sufferers with severe long-term health issues including paralysis, blindness, cardiac problems, chronic fatigue and psychiatric symptoms. Hundreds of thousands of people are affected worldwide, principally in Europe (including Scotland and the rest of the UK) and North America.

The US has an estimated 330,000 cases per year while Germany may have as many as 1.5 million. Outdoor workers and people who practice activities such as hillwalking or mountain biking are particularly at risk but anyone who ever visits the countryside (or even a park or garden) can become infected – it only takes one painless, unobtrusive tick bite.

Despite its serious long-term consequences, Lyme disease is preventable if detected early enough. The disease has a variety of symptoms which can be confused with other conditions, delaying treatment. The problem is lack of awareness among the general public and even medical practitioners.

Lack of knowledge regarding the true prevalence of Lyme disease means that these symptoms are often not associated with tick bites. Several tick removal tools are currently available, but all have the same basic flaw – removing the tick isn’t the whole story. If the tick has already been attached for two days, the Lyme disease parasite will already have passed into the bloodstream – removing the tick makes no difference.

The Garrapat solution is a device that anyone can use to remove ticks at the push of a button and have the tick analysed for infection with the Borrelia parasite that causes Lyme disease within a few days, through a rapid, seamless and reliable process.

The tick removal device makes ticks detach and then rapidly collects them into a removable cartridge which can be sent to our labs for testing, free of charge. Garrapat use a highly sensitive approach to detect the Borrelia parasite within the tick, far more accurate than the serological tests currently used. Test results will be returned to Garrapat users or their doctors within 5 working days, providing a sound basis for medical treatment if the tick is positive for Borrelia, well within the timescale to prevent chronic Lyme disease.

Garrapat is seeking £20,000 on the rewards-based crowdfunding platform Indiegogo to produce our prototype tick removal device and trial the efficiency of our Lyme disease diagnostic service under high traffic loads and are launching a Indiegogo campaign on November 10th.

Garrapat founder Dr. Bruce Alexander, who has over 30 years’ experience of working on insect-borne disease research worldwide, says, “We want to get the message out that nobody needs to suffer this horrible disease – a combination of awareness, an easy-to-use means of removing ticks and a prompt diagnosis of Lyme disease can protect everyone.”

"By helping us reach our funding target, backers can help stop people developing chronic Lyme disease and experiencing a lifetime of pain and disability. Added to the feel-good factor of striking a blow against this debilitating condition, backers can get their hands on Garrapat before anyone else at a discounted price. We don’t need millions in funding to make Garrapat a reality but we do need the involvement of as many people as possible to help raise the profile of Lyme and back our project. With your help, we can conquer Lyme disease and stop unnecessary suffering."

For more information on how Garrapat works or to avail of Garrapat at a discounted price, sign up here.

For all other queries, please contact:

Dr. Barry Emerson
Garrapat Crowdfunding Manager


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