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Alan Franciscus
Editor-in-Chief
HCV Advocate
HBV Advocate

Drugs in Development / Clinical Trials—Updated September 17, 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

Canadian soldier: My journey with hepatitis C

2009 was going to be a great year for me: retirement from the Canadian Armed Forces, a new career in the private sector and the purchase of our first home. But things changed drastically when my release medical revealed that my liver was cirrhotic as a result of hepatitis C. My name is Lance Gibson. I am a retired Military Police Sergeant (CFB Borden) who was trained to face a multitude of external threats during my time with the Canadian Armed Forces, which included a tour in Afghanistan. The last thing I expected was that the biggest threat to my life would be internal and would come in the form of a diagnosis of hepatitis C.

Restrictive terms will lead to 50mil HCV deaths

Globally it is estimated that around 170,200 million individuals around the world are currently living with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV), with an additional 3-4 million becoming infected every year and 350,000+ deaths annually. HCV is clearly one of the greatest public health threats of this century and possibly even the next. Unlike HIV, HCV is curable.

In Malaysia, it is estimated that as at 2010 the HCV infections were at 397,515. According to a report in The Star dated June 8, 2014, the present rate of infection is likely to be much higher as often many infected with hepatitis C are not aware of their status.

In this context, new oral medicines bring significant new hope for many people infected with the Hepatitis C virus with its better cure rates and lesser side effects. However, hopes for universal affordable curable treatment were dashed with Gilead’s announcement on Sept 15 of a voluntary licence on two direct-acting oral antivirals (DAAs) used to treat HCV infections, sofosbuvir (Sovaldi®) and ledipasvir.

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

More than 170,000 register for new hepatitis C cure in Egypt

More than 171,000 hepatitis C patients have registered with Egypt’s Health Ministry to receive a cure for hepatitis C (HCV), less than 72 hours after registration opened, said Egypt’s Health Minister.

The new hepatitis C pill by Gilead Sciences has arrived in Egypt at more than 99 percent discount to the US price.

According to the Health Minister, the Daqahliya governorate has seen the highest number of patients registered, at 21,803. Meanwhile, 18,640 registered in Sharqiya and 16,212 registered in Cairo. All those who register will undergo a free preliminary examination at their nearest registered centre, announced the Minister.

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Comments by Alan Franciscus, Editor-in-Chief, HCV Advocate

This is remarkable and much needed in Egypt because of high rate of co-infections (HIV and schistosomiasis) that can lead to faster disease progression.  We will be kicking off a new series of fact sheets next month titled "HCV Around the World."  We decided on Egypt as our first in the series since it has the highest percentage of HCV and it is one of the poorest countries.  Alan

Friday, September 19, 2014

Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies Keep Hepatitis C from Infecting Liver Cells

Certain antibodies can keep hepatitis C from infecting new cells, paving the way for a treatment for stubborn infections and perhaps a vaccine to prevent them in the first place.

Research published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine supports what scientists already suspected about the punch certain antibodies can deliver to hepatitis C.

Led by Dr. Ype P. de Jong, a gastroenterologist, professor, and attending physician at Cornell University, scientists showed that in cell cultures and in mice these broadly neutralizing antibodies interrupt the cycle of hepatitis C (HCV) infection.

“The largest takeaway is that HCV can rapidly be cured if the infectious cycle is interrupted,” de Jong told Healthline. “This goes against the current dogma that HCV is not [damaging] to the liver cells and happily replicates in the liver without killing either its host cell or being cleared by its host cell.”

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SLU Researcher to Study New Hepatitis C Medication in Children

New combination of drugs could decrease side effects, increase cure rate 

Newswise — ST. LOUIS – After the success of a new drug treatment in adults with hepatitis C infection, a Saint Louis University pediatric researcher is testing the safety and efficacy of the medications in children.

Part of a multi-center clinical study, SLU is the only center in the region that will examine a combination of two drugs – Sofosbuvir and Ribavirin – in children between ages 3 and 17. The aim of the study is to cure the infection with few side effects.

The current approach to treat the hepatitis C infection is with interferon shots combined with Ribavirin, a therapy that takes about six to 12 months and also causes many side effects including, flu-like symptoms and depression.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

New law allows nurses to test for Hepatitis C

ALBANY Nurses across New York will soon be able to test for hepatitis C under a bill signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week.

The new law will allow doctors and nurse practitioners to authorize registered nurses to administer the test. Previously, nurses could only screen for hepatitis C if a physician gave them written permission for a specific patient.

"It may seem like not a big hurdle in a small, family practitioner office," said Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski, D-New City, Rockland County, who sponsored the bill. "But in large health care settings, in hospitals and things like that, there seemed to be a barrier. There was a delay."

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Beware of your monthly manicure - it may cause hepatitis! How more than HALF of New York nail salons violate health and safety rules

If regular manicures are your guilty pleasure, beware - they may be posing a risk to your health.

According to a new report released on Monday by NYC Public Advocate Leticia James' office, an incredibly 56 per cent of nail salons in New York City are in violation of health and safety rules.

And the consequences are grave; the report states that customers exposed to unclean conditions have been infected with hepatitis and staph infections.