Called a “silent epidemic” by the World Health Organization, bacterial and fungal corneal infections are one of the leading causes of blindness in the world. This isn’t conjunctivitis, which is relatively harmless. This is corneal ulcers, which can cause blindness as quickly as 24 hours. However, the world is running out of antibiotics and antifungal drugs. Alternatives to these drugs are needed – urgently.
Against this background, a groundbreaking treatment called PACK-CXL which requires only vitamin B2 and UV-A light, called “PACK-CXL” has been developed. It can kill bacteria and fungi without requiring antimicrobial drugs to do so.
And so, at this year’s annual meeting of the European Society for Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ESCRS), held online from 2–4 October 2020, a poster, presented by Dr. Emilio Torres-Netto, entitled “Corneal cross-linking for treating infectious keratitis: final results of the prospective randomized controlled multicentre trial” took first place in the Refractive Surgery category. The phase III trial results showed that corneal ulcers can be treated just as effectively with PACK-CXL as with the latest antibiotics, something that will soon become increasingly important.
The competition was strong: the best work from surgeons and researchers from over 120 countries competed for the best poster prize, and Dr. Torres-Netto, who works as part of the research group of Prof. Farhad Hafezi from the ELZA Institute Dietikon (www.elza-institute.com) said that he was “honoured and humbled” to win the Best Poster prize for the second year in a row.
Dr. Torres-Netto previously won the Best Poster prize at the ESCRS Winter Meeting 2020 held in Marrakech, and the last year’s ESCRS Best Poster Prize at the 2019 ESCRS Annual Meeting held in Paris, France. The topic he won these poster prizes for previously was Stromal bed smoothness after excimer laser surface ablation as a key element for the expression of inflammatory genes.