Hepatitis C: Long-Term Killer

New hope for hepatitis C, an often hidden disease

January 17, 2011 By LAURAN NEERGAARD , AP Medical Writer

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New Hep-C Treatment

Dr. Paul J. Pockros, head, Division of Gastroenterology/ Hepatology and director, Liver Disease Center, talks with patient Loretta Roberts as they view her information on a computer screen in his exam room at Scripps Green Hospital in San Diego, in this photo taken Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

There’s new hope for an overlooked epidemic: Two powerful drugs are nearing the market that promise to help cure many more people of liver-attacking hepatitis C – even though most who have the simmering infection don’t know it yet.

Surprisingly, two-thirds of  sufferers are thought to be baby boomers who’ve harbored since their younger, perhaps wilder, years a virus that can take two or three decades to do its damage.What could be a treatment revolution is spurring the government to consider if it’s time to start screening aging baby boomers for hepatitis C, just like they get various checks.”We’re entering a whole new era of therapy,” says Dr. John Ward, hepatitis chief at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We really want to begin that clarion call for action for this population who’s at risk.”

Today’s two-drug treatment for hepatitis C cures only about 40 percent of people with the most common variety of the virus, and causes some grueling side effects. Now major studies show that adding a new drug -either Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ telaprevir or  & Co.’s boceprevir – can boost those cure rates as high as 75 percent. And they allow some people to cut treatment time in half, to six months, thus lessening how long they must deal with those side effects.

Hep-C contd…

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About carlos

I'm a curious person, of reasonable intellect, "on the beach" (retired) and enjoying my interest in anthropology, language, civil rights, and a few other areas. I've been a hippie/student/aerospace tech writer in the '60s, a witness to the Portuguese revolution in the ‘70s, a defense test engineer and witness to the Guatemalan genocide in the '80s, and a network engineer for an ISP in the '90s. Now I’m a student and commentator until my time is up. I've spent time under the spell of the Mesoamerican pyramids and the sweet sound of the Portuguese language. I've lived in Europe, traveled in Brazil, Central America, Iceland, New Zealand, and other places. My preferred mode of travel is with a backpack and I eat (almost) anything local. Somehow, many of the countries I have been to have had civil unrest (for which I was not responsible). I'm open to correspond with anyone who might share my liberal, humanist interests. I live in San Buenaventura, California.
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