Could new research help fight tick-borne illnesses in New York?

ALBANY, N.Y. — A total of 7,000 new cases of Lyme disease are reported in New York each year. And for decades, treatment and the diagnosis of Lyme disease have remained stagnant perhaps until now.

Tuesday morning, state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker announced a new and expansive partnership with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. The goal of the new collaboration is to advance the diagnosis and treatment of tick-borne diseases.

Regeneron is investing $48 million to research new treatments, with half of that money being reimbursed by the state through their life sciences initiatives.

“It’s been on our radar and the folks from the state brought it to our attention, and we had a chance to realize the uptick is real,” said Erin Loosen, a spokesperson for Regeneron.

Lyme disease is one of the fastest growing infectious diseases in the country, and this past weekend, even the health commissioner dealt with a bit of a tick scare with his son.

“At that moment, when you realize you’re taking this off your own child, your heart sinks a little bit, thinking, ‘oh my,’ ” Zucker said. “So that’s what we’re trying to tackle. We’re trying to make sure all those other parents and people don’t have that ‘oh my’ moment.”

It is another reminder to be vigilant and always check your body, especially during the summer season.

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