Hope for sufferers of conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis – inflammation of the mucous membrane covering the eyeball and inside the eyelids – is contracted by a quarter of a million Australians each year.
There are different types of conjunctivitis:
- Bacterial, remedied with antibiotics;
- And the most common and highly contagious is viral conjunctivitis, for which there is no treatment available.
While antibiotics will not help viral infections, they are wrongly prescribed for thousands of patients. Despite a lack of efficacy against this viral infection, physicians often prescribe antibiotics to patients desperate for relief from the eye pain, redness, swelling and discharge from viral conjunctivitis.
Now, there is hope for sufferers as a new Australian trial is aiming to fill this gap in the treatment of viral conjunctivitis.
Okogen, a biotech based in San Diego and Melbourne, has developed an antiviral to treat conjunctivitis.
Okogen Managing Director Dr Brian M Strem said the company is set to initiate a clinical trial (coined RUBY) enrolling 219 patients at up to eight clinical sites within Australia, expecting to start early 2019.
“Our preclinical studies are very promising,” Dr Strem said.
Despite the high incidence and known cause of viral conjunctivitis, to date there are no approved therapies for the disease.
Okogen is hoping it has the answer.
Whilst this disease is typically self-resolving, it can last up to three weeks, is highly contagious and can carry long-term effects that can impact vision.
While these symptoms cause significant discomfort and embarrassment, inappropriate use of antibiotics contributes to the growing problem of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
There are approximately 25 million cases of viral conjunctivitis annually worldwide and it is the leading ocular condition driving patients to seek medical care.
The infection can persist for up to three weeks, and patients are highly contagious for 10-14 days. This puts families and communities, including schools and childcare centres at risk of rapid spread of the infection and persistence of the virus within the population.
For more information about the trials visit https://rubytrial.com.au/?fbclid=IwAR1tcS0DKJXCNCKH3KLgSo6k0Weniq8afkPKyLn4eZKO9GzDCUX89R9bkTc