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Cure for Hepatitis C
Old 05-23-2007, 08:41 PM   #1
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Cure for Hepatitis C

There's very promising news here. Viruses are tricky beasts, and it's possible the cure won't prove lasting, but we can celebrate for now.

http://http://www.news.vcu.edu/news.aspx?v=detail&nid=2096

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"Nearly all -- 99 percent – of patients with hepatitis C who were treated successfully with peginterferon alone, or in combination with ribavirin, had no detectable virus up to seven years later. Researchers say this data validates the use of the word "cure" when describing hepatitis C treatment as successful treatment is defined as having undetectable hepatitis C virus in the blood six months following treatment.

"We at VCU are encouraged by this data because it is rare in the treatment of life-threatening viral diseases that we can tell patients they may be cured," Shiffman said. "In hepatitis C today, we are able to help some patients achieve an outcome that effectively enables them to put their disease behind them."

. . .

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne infectious disease of the liver and a leading cause of cirrhosis, liver cancer and the need for liver transplants. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 4.1 million Americans have been infected with hepatitis C, and 3.2 million are chronically infected. The number of new infections per year declined from an average of 240,000 in the 1980s to about 26,000 in 2004, the latest year for which statistics are available. The CDC estimates the number of hepatitis C-related deaths could increase to 38,000 annually by the year 2010, surpassing annual HIV/AIDS deaths."
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Old 05-25-2007, 08:52 PM   #2
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Naomi Judd (of the CW singing duo fame) claims she was cured of Hepatitis C. However, I don't know the details of how she affected the "cure".
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Old 06-03-2007, 12:21 AM   #3
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Wow, fantastic news! Before my uncle died, I researched this for him since he was a hep C carrier due to shared needles (drug use). The total cost of the drugs for the old treatment was about $30K, it went on for about 6 months, and it made you horribly nauseous. One of the anchors of one of the San Diego TV news stations is undergoing this treatment. He was still working as much as he could during treatment and they interviewed him in the San Diego paper.

But the cure rate for this older treatment (which I believed used similar drugs to the current study) was only about 40 to 50%, and cure may have been defined differently.

Ultimately, my uncle did die from related complications after he lapsed back into drug use.

This is a chronic condition that affects a *lot* of people (over 1.5% of all adults in the US) and so this is just great news. I just hope that this cure is somewhat economical.

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Old 06-03-2007, 12:30 AM   #4
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But the cure rate for this older treatment (which I believed used similar drugs to the current study) was only about 40 to 50%, and cure may have been defined differently.
Don't you just love how the CDC can change definitions and suddenly 'make things better?' Sort of like how when Polio vaccinations weren't working, they changed the definition of Polio and for some 'strange' reason the rates of Polio went down.

At that point in time they also changed the strategy of vaccination. Instead of mass vaccinations, the strategy changed to quarantine infected people and then vaccinate them and all family/friends.

Which doesn't actually say anything about the effectiveness of the Polio vaccine because the quarantine period was generally the same amount of time that it takes for the virus to become non-contagious.

So while many people attribute the eradication of Polio to vaccinations, the facts make it clear that no singular reason (e.g. vaccinations) for the eradication can be determined.

Why people vaccinate for Polio in the US is beyond me...
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Old 06-03-2007, 12:40 AM   #5
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Personally, I am glad that I had a Polio vaccination since I will soon be visiting countries where exposure is at least a (very) minor possibility. I will be getting a professional consult next month about my vaccination levels -- I think I am already fine, just verifying, and I need the malaria meds and some Cipro.

I certainly wish there was a Hep C vaccination, though. I think the Hep B vaccination is something like only 90% effective, something that most people are not aware of . . .

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