New Drug Could Combat River Blindness and Other Diseases

January 08, 2019

Onchocerciasis may sound like a made-up word, but for millions of people, “river blindness” is a daily struggle as it robs them of their health and one of their most precious senses: sight. However, a new drug offers new hope in fighting against this disease.

A disease caused by a parasitic worm and spread by biting flies, river blindness affects over 15.5 million people worldwide. A majority of infections are located primarily near sub-Saharan African rivers.

The worms are incredibly difficult to exterminate, but a new antibiotic – known by the handle “AWZ1066S” until it has been given a proper name – disrupts the life cycle of the larvae within seven days.

Researchers from the University of Liverpool have stated that the product can be taken in pill form, giving hope to countries that have otherwise limited health care systems.

Further research on the drug has indicated that it could also treat Elephantiasis – a disease that causes painful swelling of body parts – and could open new treatments for other ailments caused by the worm.