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Transcript
ORGANIC CHEMISTS
FIGHTING BLINDNESS
© Zul Mukhida/Sightsavers
The problem of River Blindness
• 2nd leading infectious cause of blindness
• 140 million people in Africa at risk
• 37 million people infected
• Caused by bacteria that live inside the
nematode worm
What organic chemists did
• Convert a natural product to the highly
effective drug called Ivermectin (MectizanTM)
• The drug kills the larvae and stops them
causing damage
• The drug only needs to be taken twice a year
The chemistry they used
• A double carbon – carbon bond is converted
to a single carbon – carbon bond
• Hydrogen is added to the double bond
• A special catalyst makes the reaction specific
for one bond
Double bond
Single bond