The FDA has approved moxidectin 8 mg oral for the treatment of river blindness in patients older than 12 years, according to a press release.
River blindness, caused by the parasitic worm Onchocerca volvulus, is spread by black flies that breed in the rivers of sub-Saharan Africa, Yemen, and South and Central America. Larvae invade skin and eyes, where they can cause permanent blindness, itching and disfiguring skin conditions, the release said.
Developed by the not-for-profit biopharmaceutical company Medicines Development for Global Health (MDGH) and the World Health Organization Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), moxidectin selectively binds to the parasite’s glutamate-gated chloride ion channels, the release said.
“FDA approval is a momentous achievement for any biopharmaceutical company, but it is a particularly rare and exciting event in the neglected diseases setting,” Mark Sullivan, founder and managing director of MDGH, said in the release. “It takes a broad community to develop a new medicine. FDA approval represents decades of work by thousands of scientists, disease control specialists, expert advisors, community health workers, funders and study participants. We particularly acknowledge the $13 million investment from the Global Health Investment Fund as well as the extraordinary persistence and dedication of the team at TDR, without whom this would not have happened.”