Lyme and tick-borne disease research in the UK

 

Lyme and tick-borne disease research in the UK: addressing the scientific uncertainties

November 21-22, 2019

A two-day workshop was held in Liverpool on November 21st and 22nd 2019, to review work underway into Lyme and other tick-borne diseases (TBDs) in the UK and discuss how to address some of the research gaps that remain. Like an earlier workshop in 2017, this workshop was funded by HPRU EZI and jointly organised by Public Health England, The University of Liverpool and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Health Protection Scotland and NHS Scotland.

Day 1 was dedicated to reviewing and summarising the research progress made since 2017, with 64 registered participants representing most of the UK research groups, clinicians and public health experts active in the area of ticks, Lyme and TBDs.  Day 2 was open to the day 1 attendees and to nominated representatives of UK patient advocacy charities and groups. Eight UK patient groups each sent a representative who presented their group’s top 5 priorities for UK Lyme and TBD research, from which common themes emerged.  The recommendations for research identified by NICE and the independent reviews into Lyme disease commissioned by DHSC, were reviewed in the context of research carried out since 2017, to identify gaps and uncertainties that remain, how well they align with patient priorities for research, and how they might be addressed in the future.

Progress has been made since 2017 in all the topic areas under discussion but uncertainties persist around the diagnosis, management and prevention of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases in the UK.  Although the workshop did not have a mandate for influencing policy makers or funding bodies, it was acknowledged that there is a need to increase the profile and priority of tick-borne diseases with research funding bodies. The inclusion of patient advocacy groups for day 2 was an important step forward for patient and public involvement (PPI) in Lyme disease/TBD research in the UK. It is hoped that the spirit of collaboration fostered at this event continues as future research is planned, designed and conducted.

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Posted on: 24/01/2020