CONCORD — Gov. Chris Sununu and Trump administration officials said Tuesday that a $25 million research project could one day dramatically reduce the incidence of Lyme disease infections in America.
Federal officials met with Sununu Tuesday to discuss the LymeX Project, the largest private-public partnership in history to work on the tick-borne disease.
The federal Centers for Disease Prevention reports domestic cases of tick-related diseases has more than doubled from 2014-2018.
In recent years, New Hampshire has ranked in the top five states in the country for confirmed cases of Lyme disease.
The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation is the largest private funder of research in this area in the U.S.
The private group is partnering with HHS on this project that federal officials announced last month.
Kristen Honey, the executive director of innovation and partnerships with HHS, said climate change, expanding suburbia and other factors have seen Lyme disease cases expand in New Hampshire and the upper Northeast.
“There is no diagnostic test for Lyme; all we have are antibody tests which can tell you if at any point in your life you had the disease,” she said.
The first phase of the project will grant a $10 million prize to the company chosen to come up with the best diagnostic test.
“This is going to be the Lyme diagnostic moonshot,” said HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hagan.
Assistant Secretary of HHS Brett Giroir said beyond work on diagnostics there will be more research into prevention and treatment methods.
“There will not be a silver bullet for Lyme disease; I think it’s going to be a multi-layered solution,” he added.