What could be the first proven treatment for viral conjunctivitis is being tested on the Border and people who have the disease are being sought to participate.
Eye Clinic Albury-Wodonga is one of seven sites nationwide, and the only regionally, taking part in San Diego biotech company Okogen's trial of the antiviral OKG-0301.
Lead clinician Paul Giles said 200 patients would be involved nationally and the clinic was seeking more locals, with one person participating so far.
"This is a common eye disease, for which there's previously been no treatment available," he said.
"Like having a cold, you just have to sit it out for up to three weeks, and it's highly contagious.
"Now we have a new drug which shows promise in treating this, and is available in an eye-drop taken four times a day, for five days."
Dr Giles said this type of drug had been trialled for cancer treatment which went no further.
"A lot of the safety and dosage work had already been done, and far higher doses had been used intravenously, and we're using it in an eye drop form," he said.
"This is a phase two trial, so there's a fair bit of work to go ... we're looking to know if it's effective."
A potential treatment available to the public is at least a few years away.
Okogen chief executive Brian Strem said the RUBY trial would investigate the efficacy of OKG-0301.
"It works by both reducing the virus' ability to multiply and addressing inflammation - the combination of these effects are to show a reduction in the duration and severity of infection as well as reduce the chance of contagiousness to others," he said.
The "double-blind controlled trial" includes placebos and will also test different strengths of the drug.
People over 18, who have no previous eye problems are eligible.
You must be enrolled within the first three days of exhibiting symptoms.
The Eye Clinic Albury-Wodonga has a full-time clinical trials co-ordinator and Dr Giles said that was how they had become involved.
"We've been involved in a lot of clinical trials, largely in the retinal space ... and Alex tracked down this trial and the team were very keen to have us involved, along with major centres like the Sydney Eye Hospital," he said.
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"We want people to know involvement in the trial could mean you could return to activities quicker than otherwise.
"If you feel like you're ticking a few of those boxes, contact the eye clinic and we will examine you a test will confirm the disease."
Contact the Eye Clinic on (02) 6021 3755.
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