Tag Archives: Hepatitis

Pill Targeting Hepatitis C Launched

A new pill that directly targets hepatitis C for the first time has been launched in the UK.

A new pill that directly targets hepatitis C for the first time has been launched in the UK

In clinical trials, adding Victrelis to standard therapy increased the number of chronic patients freed from the virus up to threefold.

Hepatitis C is a blood-to-blood infection that attacks the liver. It is commonly spread by injecting drug users sharing needles, body piercing and tattoos.

The virus can also be transmitted by blood transfusions, but donor screening has prevented this happening in the UK since 1991. Sexual transmission is extremely uncommon.

The infection is known as the “silent epidemic” because it may take decades to produce any symptoms. Ultimately, the virus can cause serious liver damage or liver cancer.

Around 216,000 people in the UK are believed to be chronically infected with hepatitis C but many do not know it.

Until now, licensed treatments have relied on boosting the immune system to fight the infection.

Victrelis, one of a class of drugs called protease inhibitors, is different because it attacks the virus directly.

Charles Gore, chief executive of the the Hepatitis C Trust charity, said: “Hepatitis C is called the silent epidemic because hundreds of thousands of people carry the virus yet the great majority have no idea they are infected.

“It can take decades for symptoms of hepatitis C to emerge and when they do, damage to the liver may have already occurred. Raising awareness of the condition and getting more people tested are critical, but we also need effective treatments once it is diagnosed.”

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Via Belfast Telegraph

Today is World Hepatitis Day & Find Out What LASS is Doing To Help

Following the World Health Assembly in May 2010, it was agreed that World Hepatitis Day would be recognised annually on 28 July.

World Hepatitis Day is an annual event which provides international focus for patient groups and people living with hepatitis.  It is an opportunity where interested groups can raise awareness and influence real change in disease prevention and access to testing and treatment.

Since its inception back in 2008 thousands of events have taken place around the world, generating massive public and media interest.  The World Hepatitis Alliance has also received support from governments worldwide, high-profile Non-Governmental Organisations and supranational bodies, such as Médecins Sans Frontières.

LASS would like to invite you to an open day, to help identify the needs of individuals in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland living with Hepatitis or who are co-infected with HIV and Hepatitis.

We envision a support group where individuals can collaborate and share knowledge with the aim to manage the condition in a supportive environment.  Suggestions so far include telephone support, full access to Hepatitis reference materials and one on one home visits (provided we can secure appropriate funding).  

We’re meeting in Loughborough, on Wednesday 3rd August in the afternoon, if you like to come along, please contact Michael on 0116 2559995 or email him directly and we’ll be happy to send you more information.

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World Health Organisation: Hepatitis Toll “In Millions”

Medical experts are calling for global action to tackle the viruses that cause the liver disease hepatitis.

The first worldwide estimates in drug users show 10 million have hepatitis C while 1.3 million have hepatitis B.  Writing in the Lancet, experts say only a fraction of those who could benefit are receiving antiviral drugs.

Only one in five infants around the world are vaccinated against hepatitis B at birth, they say.  The figures, published in the Lancet, show about 67% of injecting drug users in the world have been exposed to hepatitis C, while around 10% have come into contact with hepatitis B.

In the UK, around half of injecting drug users have been infected with the hepatitis C virus, while the rate for exposure to hepatitis B is 9% – the highest in western Europe.

“This study provides us with a first step and powerful data to draw attention to the problem of viral hepatitis in people who use drugs”

Dr Joseph Amon – Human Rights Watch

The research was led by Prof Louisa Degenhardt of the Centre for Population Health, Burnet Institute, Melbourne, Australia, and Paul Nelson from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales.

They say: “The public-health response to blood-borne virus transmission in injecting drug users has mainly centred on HIV.  “Maintenance and strengthening of the response to HIV in injecting drug users remains crucial, but the significance of viral hepatitis needs to receive greater attention than it does at present.”

Commenting on the study in the Lancet, Dr Joseph Amon, of Human Rights Watch, New York City, US, said: “This study provides us with a first step and powerful data to draw attention to the problem of viral hepatitis in people who use drugs.

“The next step is to challenge governments to act, and hold them accountable for implementation of rights-respecting and evidence-based programmes.”
Hepatitis is caused by five main viruses – A, B and C, and, more rarely D and E.
Hepatitis B is the most common, and can be passed from mother to baby at birth or in early childhood as well as through contaminated injections or injected drug use.

Hepatitis C is also spread through using unsterile needles and less commonly through unsafe sex or sharing razors or toothbrushes. The E virus, caught from infected water or food, is a common cause of outbreaks of the disease in developing countries, said the World Health Organization.

Many of those carrying hepatitis are not aware they have it and can unknowingly transmit it to others.

Source: BBC

You can find more information about Hepatitis at NHS Choices

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