A mother from Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, has developed a chemical-free repellent to fight ticks that can potentially transmit Lyme disease. The first tests in the laboratory gave encouraging results.
Lisa Ali went to work after her two sons were infected with Lyme disease in 2016.
The repellent recommended for tick protection is the DEET mosquito, but Ms. Ali was against spraying this product on her children’s skin.
This is how she created her own concoction, called AtlanTick, based on water, jojoba oil, hazelnut and plant essences commonly called essential oils.
But does the product work? To find out, he is currently being tested.
Nicoletta Faraone, Department of Biology, Acadia University, Nova Scotia, began testing Lisa Ali’s product in the lab.
Most ticks that came into contact with the AtlanTick repellent immediately moved away from it.
“The results are interesting because the AtlanTick vaporizer has increased from 75% to 80% of the ticks it has been tested on,” says Faraone. “This is very encouraging, because we clearly observe a repellent effect.”
The insect repellent DEET, meanwhile, has a 100% efficiency during tests.
Even if these results are far from sufficient for the product to be marketed, Lisa Ali does not hide his satisfaction. She says she did a lot of research beforehand and is not surprised that the first tests are positive.
“It’s very satisfying, and it reassures me,” she says.
It will take two years of conclusive testing before Health Canada approves AtlanTick. The product is therefore not for sale at the moment. Nicoletta Faraone explains that variants of the product will be tested in different situations.
“For now, we have data for the first 10 minutes,” says the researcher. She wants to know if the product can repel ticks longer than that, for hours if possible.
“We also want to test it on the skin, to see if the tick will move away or if it will come off and fall,” she says.
His research was funded through the Productivity and Innovation Program of the Government of Nova Scotia and a grant from the National Research Council of Canada.
How to counter Lyme disease
Lyme disease is becoming endemic in Canada and the tick continues to grow in the Maritimes . In Nova Scotia, there were 1,020 reported cases from 2002 to 2016.
The Government of Nova Scotia recommends the use of DEET, says the office of the province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.
In addition to using the recommended repellent, one can also take precautions when walking in the undergrowth, such as wearing long clothes. The insect is very small, and it is advisable to check if none has caught on its skin. The tick can be removed with eyebrow tweezers.
The disease is easily treated with antibiotics during its primary stage. In 80% of cases, a characteristic redness in the form of a target appears on the skin at the bite site.
Without treatment, severe symptoms may occur years after the bite.
Jeff Keil is a professor of psychology. He has conducted numerous research studies on media effects including the effects of bullying on adolescents, and “sexy media” effects on sexual behavior.. DR Keil has written for Maclean’s, Motherboard, the National Post, and the Huffington Post.