Welcome to HCV Advocate’s hepatitis blog. The intent of this blog is to keep our website audience up-to-date on information about hepatitis and to answer some of our web site and training audience questions. People are encouraged to submit questions and post comments.
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Friday, September 4, 2015
In 1998, the federal government banned the use of federal funding for syringe exchange programs. State and local governments could fund them, but the District could not. In 2007, the federal government altered that policy, and the District's municipal government began funding programs in 2008.
In a new study in the journal AIDS and Behavior, researchers used mathematical modeling to calculate how many HIV infections the policy change prevented and how much money it saved. The researchers found that in the two years after the municipal money started flowing following the policy change, there were 176 new HIV cases reported in the District involving injection drug use. Without that policy change, the researchers estimated, the number would have been 296 cases. The policy change had helped avert 120 cases.
First-ever World Hepatitis Summit calls for national programmes-- Follows rise in hepatitis deaths for fifth consecutive year
Deaths from the disease have increased for a fifth year running and there are currently 400 million people living with the condition as it now claims an estimated 1.45 million lives each year, making it one of the world's leading causes of death.
Policymakers and stakeholders at the three-day meeting will discuss the World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Health Sector Strategy on Viral Hepatitis, which sets targets for 2030.
One of the four goals of the national Viral Hepatitis Action Plan seeks to improve HCV testing and linkage to care for the estimated millions of Americans who are living with undiagnosed hepatitis C. The plan also seeks to ensure that individuals, who have been previously diagnosed with HCV— but are not in care— take steps to prevent damage from chronic, untreated HCV infection
Thursday, September 3, 2015
Nick Scott is an Econometrician at the Burnet Institute in Melbourne, Australia. Since completing his mathematics PhD in 2012, he has been modelling infectious disease transmission among vulnerable populations to inform public health policy.
In most developed settings, new HCV infections and HCV-related liver disease occur among largely disjoint populations. New HCV infections primarily occur among people who inject drugs (PWID) through the sharing of injecting paraphernalia, but the slow progression to liver disease means that the burden of disease is increasingly occurring in an aging population.
Repurposing of the antihistamine chlorcyclizine and related compounds for treatment of hepatitis C virus infection—S He et al.—Alan Franciscus, Editor-in-Chief
Results and Conclusions
The article discussed how a common and cheap generic antihistamine drug—chlorcylclizine HCL—could be used to treat hepatitis C. In cell studies it was found that cholorcyclizine had antiviral effects against the hepatitis C virus. The antiviral effect was also synergistic with other hepatitis C drugs including telaprevir, boceprevir, sofosbuvir, daclatasvir, and cyclosporine and importantly without any toxic effect to cells.
The Bottom Line
There have been many medications that have been developed to treat certain conditions, some of their properties, and even some of the side effects help with other conditions. An example would be mirtazapine. It is approved to treat major depressive disorder, but one of the side effects is sleepiness. It was found that when taken in small doses in the evening that it helped to treat insomnia. Another example is propranolol that is approved to treat high blood pressure. Taken at a lower dose, off-label, it reduced anxiety in people who suffer from stage fright and other anxieties such as fear of public speaking.
It is way too early to tell if chlorcyclizine will be an effective therapy to treat hepatitis C. Chlorcylclizine with and without ribavirin is currently in a phase 1 clinical trial to treat hepatitis C. There is more information available about chlorcyclizine’s clinical trial information at www.clinicaltrial.gov. Type in “chlorcylclizine” or the trial identifier NCT02118012
It is being conducted by the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center.
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
“We know how to prevent viral hepatitis, we have a safe and effective vaccine for hepatitis B, and we now have medicines that can cure people with hepatitis C and control hepatitis B infection,” said Dr Gottfried Hirnschall, Director of the WHO’s Global Hepatitis Programme. “Yet access to diagnosis and treatment is still lacking or inaccessible in many parts of the world. This summit is a wake-up call to build momentum to prevent, diagnose, treat - and eventually eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health problem.”
Around 400 million people are currently living with viral hepatitis, and the disease claims an estimated 1.45 million lives each year, making it one of the world’s leading causes of death. Hepatitis B and C together cause approximately 80% of all liver cancer deaths, yet most people living with chronic viral hepatitis are unaware of their infection.