What if there was a disease that threatened everyone but was largely dismissed by health authorities, forcing millions of sufferers to spend huge amounts of their own money on treatments just to be able to lead a normal life, free of years of pain, disability and depression?
What if this disease was easy to prevent or cure if detected early enough? What if it is was possible to empower people to protect themselves, by providing them with a readily available consumer product? The problem is Lyme disease and the solution is Garrapat.
We at Garrapat are currently developing an improved tick remover, to be marketed together with a rapid turnaround, accurate and reasonably priced laboratory service for detection of the Borrelia spirochete in ticks collected and immobilized by this device.
Bruce Alexander was born in Edinburgh and grew up in the nearby village of Loanhead. After graduating from Edinburgh University with a B.Sc. in Biological Sciences he gained an M.Sc. in Applied Entomology at Imperial College, University of London. A fellowship with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama provided him with his first experience of Latin America and phlebotomine sand flies, the region and insect group to which he dedicated much of his career. After working with Rentokil plc, the Natural History Museum and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Bruce moved to the US to do a Ph.D in Entomology at the University of Florida. This involved field work in Colombia, studying the ecology of sand flies and leishmaniasis. After graduation he returned to Colombia and for five years headed the entomology group of the Fundacion CIDEIM in Cali, working on various projects related to vector control. He moved to Brazil in 1996 and lived in Belo Horizonte for six years, spent as a lecturer at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais and researcher at the Centro de Pesquisas Rene Rachou. Although his main research there involved the study of urban leishmaniasis, he was also a member of the expert committee for the control of dengue in Belo Horizonte. On returning to the UK he rejoined the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine as a research fellow in 2005 and formed Xeroshield in the same year. Bruce has published over 50 research papers in scientific journals.