Fungal Keratitis: Cipla, CSIR-CDRI’s New Venture

It is a serious eye infection that can lead to blindness. It is caused by fungi that invade the cornea, the transparent layer of the eye. It affects around 1.2 million people worldwide every year, especially in tropical countries where agricultural workers are at higher risk. The current therapies for fungal keratitis are not very effective, as they require frequent and prolonged use of drugs, and may face drug resistance. Therefore, there is an urgent need for a better treatment option that can cure the infection faster and prevent complications.


Cipla, a global pharmaceutical company, has partnered with CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute (CSIR-CDRI), a government research laboratory, to jointly develop a novel ophthalmic formulation for fungal keratitis. The collaboration aims to leverage the combined expertise and resources of both organizations to develop a safe and efficacious drug for fungal keratitis, the Mumbai-based drug maker said in a statement.

CSIR-CDRI has developed a prototype formulation for an antifungal drug that can optimize its delivery in the eye. In preclinical studies, this formulation has shown to support faster resolution of the infection. Cipla will scale up the product, conduct the required studies, and seek regulatory approvals for commercialization, ensuring accessibility for those in need.

This collaboration is a testament to the commitment of both Cipla and CSIR-CDRI to provide innovative and affordable healthcare solutions for India’s unmet clinical needs. The two partners have an ongoing collaboration for the development of Levormeloxifene for contraception.

Fungal Keratitis: Causes, Symptoms and Diagnosis

It is a condition where the cornea, the transparent layer of the eye, is infected by fungi. It can be caused by trauma, exposure to organic matter, use of steroid eye drops, poor hygiene, or contact lens wear. The most common fungi that cause fungal keratitis are Aspergillus spp., Fusarium spp., Candida spp., and Curvularia spp.

The symptoms of fungal keratitis include pain, redness, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, tearing, and discharge from the eye. The diagnosis of fungal keratitis is based on clinical examination, microscopy, culture, and molecular tests of corneal scrapings or biopsies. However, these methods have limitations in terms of sensitivity, specificity, availability, and cost.

Fungal Keratitis: Treatment and Prevention

The treatment of fungal keratitis depends on the type and severity of the infection. The mainstay of treatment is topical antifungal agents such as natamycin, amphotericin B, voriconazole, or fluconazole. Oral or intravenous antifungals may be added in severe cases or when topical therapy fails. Surgical interventions such as debridement, therapeutic penetrating keratoplasty, or evisceration may be required in advanced cases or when medical therapy fails.

The prevention of fungal keratitis involves avoiding or minimizing risk factors such as trauma, exposure to organic matter, use of steroid eye drops, poor hygiene, or contact lens wear. Proper care and disinfection of contact lenses and solutions are essential to prevent fungal contamination. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to prevent complications and preserve vision.

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