Adenovirus - Research

Infectious conjunctivitis is a common condition, with outbreaks occurring globally on a regular basis, in particular in densely populated areas such as South East Asia. It is estimated that more than 50% of all infectious conjunctivitis cases have a viral etiology and up to 90% of these cases are caused by human adenovirus (HAdV), making this virus the single most common cause of ocular infections worldwide. With around 25 million HAdV associated conjunctivitis cases per year, it presents a serious public health risk. HAdV infections are highly contagious with virus transmission occurring primarily through respiratory droplets or direct contact with ocular secretions, thereby easily spreading from the primary infected to the uninfected eye and among people in close proximity (e.g. family members). The most frequent and severe clinical manifestation of ocular HAdV infections with potential consequences for visual acuity is epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC). EKC includes the in-fection and inflammation of both, the conjunctiva (conjunctivitis) and the cornea (keratitis) and presents with ocular irritation, foreign body sensation, photophobia, watery discharge, follicular conjunctivitis, edema and severe pain. Around 30 to 50 % of patients with EKC develop corneal opacities that persist for months to years after the initial infection has resolved. Surprisingly, despite i) high incidence, ii) severity of infection and iii) known viral cause of EKC, no causal treatments for this disease are approved to date. As a consequence, current therapies rely entirely upon palliative care such as cold compresses or artificial tears. Hence, there is a high unmet medical need for potent and specific anti-adenovirus drugs for patients suffering from severe eye infections like EKC.

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