Some exciting news from TDR this morning: clinical trials of moxidectin have been launched in 3 African countries! Yes, exclamation point.
Although we have made great progress over the past decades against River Blindness – or onchocerciasis – thanks to the generous donation of ivermectin by Merck, a new drug may soon revolutionize the treatment of onchocerciasis.
Moxidectin is a drug that has been developed by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, currently for veterinary purposes, and is a macrofilariacide as opposed to a microfilariacide like ivermectin. Ivermectin works great, but since it can only kill the offspring of the adult worm, the treatments must be given for the entire life cycle of the worms – which can be as long as 15 years. Because moxidectin can actually sterilize the adult worms, proper treatment is likely only to need a few cycles greatly accelerating the elimination of onchocerciasis as a public health problem throughout Africa.
I’ve had the opportunity to attend a number of APOC meetings over the years, and have noticed that Wyeth has always been there, being an active participant and being really committed to seeing their product succeed for onchocerciasis. Kudos to them for all of their efforts so far, and to Merck, and here is hoping we get some good news soon. To read more about the future of onchocerciasis in Africa, (self-promotion) click here.Share on Facebook