Lyme Research Alliance and Tick-Borne Disease Alliance to merge

The Lyme Research Alliance (LRA) and the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance (TBDA) will be merging.

The merger was announced in May and has been approved by each group’s board of directors. It will require regulatory approval, which the groups say is pending.

According to a joint press release, the merger will result in the formation of the largest tick-borne disease organization in the country, allowing for greater resources to be applied to research on urgently needed improvements in diagnostics and treatments, while maintaining awareness programs for the general public and physicians. The groups plan to rename the merged non-profit upon final completion of the merger.

“Our mutual overarching goal is what moved us forward to consolidate our groups,” Diane Blanchard, a Greenwich resident and co-founder and co-president of LRA, said “The merger strategically positions us to lead our joint mission to develop improved, accurate, accessible diagnostics and treatment therapies, as well as continue to raise awareness of tick-borne diseases in communities.”

David Roth, co-chairman of TBDA, added, “The merger of LRA and TBDA marks the next logical step to helping people learn about this insidious, complicated disease. The merger presents a new level of cooperation in fundraising, and will provide a platform for a strengthened, unified and collaborative voice to advance the fight to end Lyme disease forever.”

According to the groups, the merger will “harness the expertise of each organization, fueling the innovation potential of its vast network of world-renowned medical experts, physicians, researchers and key medical institutions.” They added that it would further strengthen consumer grass roots awareness campaigns, major national fund raising events and media relations programs.

Separately the groups have worked to provide financial support for the development of accurate diagnostic testing, and to find a cure for chronic or persistent Lyme infection. The first endowed center for the study of chronic Lyme disease at Columbia Lyme and Tick Borne Diseases Center at Columbia University Medical Center, New York was a previous accomplishment and the first planned national bio-repository of specimens and data pilot programs throughout the country is under development.

“We are looking forward to working closely together as a new organization to find the answers that will end the suffering of so many afflicted people, especially children,” said Greenwich resident Debbie Siciliano, co-founder and co-president, LRA.

“By joining forces we will help to ensure that our progress on research and education makes an even greater impact on the medical community,” Greenwich resident Charles Balducci, co-chairman of TBDA, added.

More than 300,000 Americans are infected with Lyme disease each year, 10 times more than previously reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As it often goes undetected, millions more are at risk of developing life-debilitating, potentially deadly conditions.

The original founders of both organizations will continue to play an active role in the combined entity.

For more information about LRA, TBDA and the Merger, visit LymeResearchAlliance.org and TBDAliance.org.

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