Australia's Leading Ophthalmic Magazine Since 1975

     Free Sign Up     

Australia's Leading Ophthalmic Magazine Since 1975

     Free Sign Up     
News, Research

Snake antivenom could be used to treat eye infection

03/10/2018By Matthew Woodley
Compounds used to treat snake venom and bee stings are being investigated as a potential alternative to the use of antibiotics for eye infections by University of Liverpool researchers.

The university’s Department of Eye and Vision Science, headed by Professor Stephen Kaye, is investigating alternative treatments for microbial keratitis and has attracted a £170,000 (AU$308,000) study grant from the Fight for Sight charity.

“We intend to investigate several promising anti-phospholipase agents, optimise their chemistry to increase penetration and minimise toxicity, as well as to design new agents,” Kaye said.

“If successful these agents will be delivered topically to the eye in conjunction with other antimicrobials in cases of microbial keratitis.”


“If successful these agents will be delivered topically to the eye in conjunction with other antimicrobials in cases of microbial keratitis.”
Stephen Kaye, University of Liverpool

The research began after it was discovered a bacteria called Pseudomonas aeruginosa produces toxins similar to those found in bee stings or snake venom. This type of bacteria accounts for one-third of all cases of eye infections, according to the team.

The researchers are now investigating whether anti-toxin treatments, called anti-phospholipases, can be delivered directly to the eye to limit or even prevent the cell damage caused by this condition.

As it’s been well established that antibiotics only have a limited effect in microbial keratitis, the aim of the study is to develop anti-P. aeruginosa agents as a non-antibiotic treatment for this condition, ultimately to reduce damage to the eye. Researchers hope this study will pave the way for a clinical trial to test a possible treatment.

“The importance of this project cannot be overstated. Not only do antibiotics have limited impact on microbial keratitis but also antibiotic resistance is a growing threat to our current way of life,” Fight for Sight director for research, policy, and innovation Dr Neil Ebenezer said.

“This study could also serve as a model for introduction of other non-antibiotic topical therapies for use in other bacterial infections of the eye.”

largeleaderboard_0618
advertisement


skyscraper_article
advertisement
Editor's Suggestion
Hot Stories

OR
 

Subscribe for Insight in your Inbox

Get Insight with the latest in industry news, trends, new products, services and equipment!