Viral conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is a thin outermost layer of the sclera and inner layer of eyelid. Viral conjunctiva is caused due to infections from virus such as adenovirus, herpes simplex virus, varicella zoster virus, picornavirus, poxvirus, and human immunodeficiency virus. It is also called as Pinkeye disease. Viral conjunctivitis is characterized by reddish eye, watery discharge from eye, and itching/irritation. Persistent conjunctivitis from virus may lead to corneal keratitis. Treatment for viral conjunctivitis are symptomatic or virus-specific.
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Treatments include artificial tear drops to reduce the dryness and irritation from infection, vasoconstrictors to reduce eye redness, decongestants to reduce the swelling, and antihistamines to reduce itching. Treatments usually are continued for one to two weeks, depending on the severity of the infection. Anti-viral therapy is utilized to treat infections from herpes simplex and varicella zoster virus.
New drug development in the U.S. to propel growth of the viral conjunctivitis market
According to study published in the journal Ophthalmology in December 2017, around 80% of conjunctivitis cases in the U.S. are associated with viral conjunctivitis. According to a study published in Review of Ophthalmology in January 2017, around 15 per 1,000 population in the U.S. suffer from viral conjunctivitis. As per a study in Review of Optometry in 2016, around 20,000 new cases, 48,000 cases of recurrences, and prevalence of 400,000 cases of herpes simplex keratitis are reported every year in the U.S. Considering this factors, U.S. is expected to hold a dominant position in the viral conjunctivitis drugs market. Moreover, increasing investment for development of new drugs to treat viral conjunctivitis are further expected to propel the viral conjunctivitis drugs market growth. For instance, APD-209 is a drug candidate from Adenovir Pharma AB to treat epidemic keratoconjunctivitis from adenovirus, which has completed the phase 2 clinical studies in 2016.
However, there is no direct anti-viral treatment available yet for conjunctivitis, which is expected to create growth opportunities for viral conjunctivitis drugs market players. To treat viral conjunctivitis often it becomes difficult to clinically differentiate the viral conjunctivitis from the bacterial conjunctivitis which leads to miss diagnosis. Many physicians at primary care centers prescribe antibiotic to treat viral conjunctivitis due to miss diagnosis and this chain of events limits the expansion of viral conjunctivitis drugs market. According to 2017 study in Ophthalmology, around 83% patients of acute conjunctivitis visited primary care centers instead of ophthalmologist, which leads to overlap of diagnosis and treatment of viral conjunctivitis, and this in turn, is expected to restrain the market growth.
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Viral Conjunctivitis Drugs Market Taxonomy
On the basis of drug class:
- Artificial Tears
- Anti-viral drugs
On the basis of the distribution channel:
- Hospital Pharmacy
- Retail Pharmacy
Key players operating in the viral conjunctivitis drugs market include Bausch & Lomb, Allergan plc, Shire plc, NicOx S.A, NovaBay Pharmaceuticals, Inc., NanoViricides, Inc., Novartis International AG, Adenovir Pharma AB, Panoptes Pharma GES.M.B.H., Akorn Pharmaceuticals, and Quidel Corporation. Market players are investing in research and development of novel therapies to treat viral conjunctivitis.
NiCox S.A. in March 2017, received the FDA approval for its ZERVIATE1 (cetirizine ophthalmic solution 0.24%) as New Drug Application (NDA), which is the first anti-histaminic topical ocular formulation for the treatment of itching due to allergic conjunctivitis. The company is focused to commercialize the product in the U.S. through partnership. In 2015, Shire plc announced acquisition of Foresight Biotherapeutics for US$ 300 million. Foresight Biotherapeutics has experimental eye drop FST-100 in its pipeline, which is a combination of 0.6% povidone iodine and 0.1% dexamethasone to treat both viral and bacterial conjunctivitis. This acquisition would add growth to Shire plc’s ophthalmic portfolio.
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