Monday, May 07, 2018

Hep C

Hepatitis C is easily cured. Yet, about 400,000 people die of the liver disease every year as only a smattering get the medicine they need. 

Only about three million people from an estimated 71 million Hepatitis C virus (HCV) carriers, received the treatment they needed.

Only about one in five people even know they are infected. Many go on to develop cancer or cirrhosis of the liver.

A new category of drug called direct-acting antivirals (DAAs), described by Hirnschall as "revolutionary", can cure all six major HCV strains, with a success rate of more than 90 percent. It comes as a once-daily pill taken for eight to 12 weeks. If all infected people could get it, the treatment would slash liver cancer deaths by 80 percent.

Two years ago, health ministers agreed to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030 -- meaning to reduce new infections by 90 percent and deaths by 65 percent. On Thursday, the liver conference heard that only six European countries -- the Netherlands, Iceland, Georgia, France, Spain, Switzerland -- were on track to meet the goal.

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