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Alan Franciscus
Editor-in-Chief
HCV Advocate
HBV Advocate

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

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Silent disease: Most who have hepatitis C show no symptoms

It wasn’t until William J. Riley, 54, got a new doctor last year that a simple blood test revealed why he had been feeling crappy on and off for so many years.

“He called me in and I went down there and that’s when he told me I had hepatitis C,” Riley explained. “I said ‘Well, how long have I had it?’ He said, ‘I’m assuming from the things you’ve told me, you’ve had it 25 to 30 years.’”

“It just lay dormant and then all of a sudden it blossomed like a rose,” Riley, of Kenosha, said.

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Janssen ‘extremely disappointed’ by NICE’s Olysio guidance

Hepatitis C drug only recommended use for one out of three licenced indications

NICE's appraisal consultation document (ACD) has recommended the drug for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C genotype 1 infection, but did not recommend it for use in combination with sofosbuvir for patients who are unable to tolerate an interferon-based regimen with genotypes 1 or 4 hepatitus C.

Peter Barnes, medical director at Janssen, said: “We are pleased that simeprevir has been recommended for the treatment of patients with genotype 1 hepatitis C when used in combination with peginterferon and ribavirin.

“However, we are disappointed with the preliminary recommendations from NICE for genotype 4 patients and those who are intolerant to interferon and could therefore benefit from the use of a treatment regime that does not include it.”

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Could hepatitis C eventually be a rare disease?

Barbara Walter, 67, of Fairview, Erie County was cured of hepatitis C that she contracted from a blood transfusion in 1976. Diagnosed in 2000, she was cured last summer with a dual-drug combination that cost $144,000.

Barbara Walter has experienced the full medical odyssey of chronic hepatitis C infection, having faced its every major challenge while benefiting from all of the modern breakthrough treatments.

She is one of the lucky few. She is cured, with no detectable virus in her blood since July.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

People living with HIV in the US are infrequently screened for HCV

People living with HIV are infrequently screened for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, according to US research published in the online edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases. The retrospective study examined screening practices at seven primary care sites between 2000 and 2011. The frequency of testing increased, but practice varied considerably between sites, and in some instances individuals with high-risk behaviours were infrequently tested for HCV.

“Screening for incidence HCV is variable across sites and improvement in frequency of screening is also variable, highlighting the a need for US-based guidelines to inform HIV practice,” write the authors.

An editorial in the same issue of the journal stresses the importance of prompt HCV diagnosis in people living with HIV.

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Exchanging needles for second chance

Twice a week for two hours at a time, an unassuming windowless white van parks at the intersection of Fifth and Harrison streets in Wilmington.

Thirty-one-year-old Mike knows the van, and knows it well – it's where he can find clean works.

For the last seven years that van, the hub for the state's needle exchange program, has traveled to at-risk areas in Wilmington, serving as a clean syringe clearinghouse for those living with a drug addiction.

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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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