IVD Research, Inc., a contract development and manufacturing (CDMO) firm in Carlsbad, California has licensed a novel biomarker for onchocerciasis—better known as river blindness—from Scripps Research in La Jolla, California. The reagent, developed in the laboratory of Kim Janda, PhD, a professor of chemistry at Scripps Research, will allow clinicians to monitor active infections of onchocerciasis.

River blindness is a neglected tropical disease afflicting an estimated 18 million people with 120 million people at risk. The disease is endemic to Africa, Central and South America and Yemen. It spreads through the bites of black flies. People with the disease will slowly go blind without medical intervention.

“River blindness is a major public health problem in large portions of the developing world, and methods of quickly diagnosing the disease to track and stop its spread are sorely needed,” said Janda, the Ely R. Callaway Jr. Professor of Chemistry and member of the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at Scripps Research.

Currently, onchocerciasis elimination programs rely primarily on mass drug administration of the therapy Ivermectin to suppress and eventually eliminate transmission of Onchocerca volvulus. Yet, without a means to evaluate if an infection is ongoing, it’s hard to assess if prevention efforts are working—and if it’s safe for people to stop taking medication.

The novel biomarker licensed to IVD Research may provide a method to monitor the progress of the elimination of the adult worms in patients, according to Janda. He and his collaborators reported the discovery of the new biomarker in the journal ACS Infectious Diseases.

About Scripps Research:

Scripps Research is ranked the most influential scientific institution in the world for its impact on innovation. A nonprofit research organization, Scripps expands basic knowledge in the biosciences and uses these fundamental advancements to develop profound innovations that improve well-being. Scripps researchers lead breakthrough studies that address the world’s most pressing health concerns, accelerating the creation and delivery of medical breakthroughs to better human health across the globe. Our educational and training programs mold talented and committed students and postdocs into the next generation of leading scientists.

About IVD Research Inc.:

IVD Research Inc. is a full service CDMO (Contract Development and Manufacturing) company located in Carlsbad, California. The company specializes in the development and manufacturing of in vitro diagnostics for human and veterinary applications with emphasis on rapid, field-usable formats.

Original article posted at Scripps Research: https://www.scripps.edu/news-and-events/press-room/2018/20181119-janda-river-blindness.html

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