Head lice infestations are a global problem, with approximately 12 million infestations in children and adults every year in the United States alone! Despite the primitive nature of head lice, it is very difficult to eradicate them, and re-infestation is common. There are several distinct problems in today’s head lice treatment market:
- Lice developing resistance. Lice are becoming increasingly resistant to the chemical substances, such as permethrin, pyrethrins, and malathion, that have been used in the leading preparations in the US since the 1980’s. Some studies show that these products have an efficacy of less than 50%.
- Products are not effective against lice eggs. The preparations that are still effective against lice, do not effectively kill their eggs. Therefore, the treatment has to be repeated after several days in order to prevent re-infestation.
- Side effects. The most common side effects are skin irritation and allergies resulting from the scalp’s exposure to these chemicals.
There is an unmet need for a non-chemical product that effectively kills both head lice and eggs in a single treatment.
ParaSonic’s revolutionary home-use device kills lice and their eggs in a single combing treatment that takes about 3 minutes. Short pulsed ultrasound waves generated by the teeth of the wide-toothed comb destroy the parasites. The comb simultaneously sprays a natural solution onto the hair, to augment the efficacy of the ultrasound and significantly increase the lice and eggs’ mortality. The ultrasonic pulse damages the internal soft tissues of the lice, and they die when the blood diffuses to other parts of their body (Fig. a,b). Regarding lice eggs, the ultrasound, in combination with the solution, damages the eggs so that their liquid contents leak out. A healthy egg and a “collapsed” dead egg can be seen in Fig. c,d.
Because there is no use of pesticides, there is no possibility of parasite resistance. The comb’s wide-tooth design means no discomfort to the person being treated.
Following a positive Written Opinion by the PCT examiner regarding the innovation, inventiveness and industrial applicability of the device and its methodologies, national patent applications were submitted in 2013. The patent includes the treatment of other parasites such as ticks and fleas.