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.

For more information on how to use this blog
click here, the HCV drug pipeline click here, and for more information on HCV clinical trials click here

Be sure to check out our other blogs: The HBV Advocate Blog and Hepatitis & Tattoos.

Alan Franciscus
HCV Advocate
HBV Advocate

Drugs in Development / Clinical Trials—Updated March 17, 2015

Monday, April 20, 2015

Egypt: New hep C treatment to hit Egyptian market in May

CAIRO: A new drug for treating hepatitis C will be available on the Egyptian market early next month, Health Minister Adel al-Adawy announced Monday.

A 30,000-dose shipment of Olisio, the new treatment, has arrived in Egypt, and is currently undergoing tests before release on the market, the head of National Committee for the Control of Viral Hepatitis Waheed Doss told Youm 7.

Doss added that once Olisio is approved, the treatment protocol will be changed and the new drug will be used simultaneously with the currently-used American-made Sovaldi.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Canada: MP Health Critic Murray Rankin Gets Tested for Hepatitis C

Today in Victoria, BC, Official Opposition Health Critic MP @Murray Rankin showed his support for Baby Boomer testing of hepatitis C by “rolling up his sleeve” for the simple blood test. HepCBC was there to record this special occasion. We applaud this kind of “hands-on” action which shows leadership on the important health issue of un-diagnosed hepatitis C.

Just before he took the test, Mr. Rankin said, “I think it’s important that hepatitis C testing be done without any stigma…I’m here to say as a Member of Parliament it is something that everybody should do. It is something that is a wonderful health initiative and I’m pleased to be doing it as well.”


Friday, April 17, 2015

Why Congress should rethink syringe issue

(CNN)If someone told you that your city had started a program providing clean needles to injecting drug users, would that make you want to start injecting drugs yourself? The answer, of course, would be no. Yet for decades, many have stood by the belief that such programs, known as syringe exchange or syringe services programs, promote and encourage drug use. Indeed, for Congress, it became the rationale behind a ban implemented in 1988 that prohibits the use of federal funds for these programs.

But an overwhelming body of scientific evidence continues to show that this is simply not true.

As a result of the recent spikes in HIV and hepatitis C infections among injecting drug users in rural Indiana and Kentucky, the controversial topic of syringe exchange programs has come to the fore again. And this time, scientific evidence and sound public health practices prevailed as both states authorized the implementation of syringe exchange programs to help curb the spread of these two blood-borne diseases that can be spread by contaminated syringes.

From the community: McAuliffe Looks to Keep Hepatitis C Taskforce Working: Veteran Lawmaker Sees More Work Ahead for Productive Group

Springfield, IL … State Representative Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago) is looking to keep the important work of the Illinois Hepatitis C Task Force rolling by extending the groups charter as set by the Illinois General Assembly as established in May of 2013.
"Many times, task forces here in Springfield just don't take off or gain any traction," said McAuliffe. "In this case, the interest and productivity of this group has exceeded all expectations. We met consistently and produced a number of solid legislative recommendations which is why I feel it's important to keep it going."

The group, which first met in February of 2014, has met consistently on a bi-monthly basis and has produced a multitude legislative initiatives aimed at curbing the growing issue of Hepatitis C in our veteran and senior communities. The group has also hosted Hepatitis C Day at the State Capitol which provides informational displays and brings leading medical experts and free screenings to our State's capitol.


An Overview of HCV Transmission and Prevention

This fact sheet will include transmission routes and how to prevent
the transmission of hepatitis C.

An Overview of the Liver

The liver is the largest internal organ. It is reddish-brown, weighs approximately three pounds (in the adult male) and is about the size of a football. It is located behind the ribcage on the upper right side of the abdomen. The liver has the unique ability to regenerate its own tissue—as much as three-quarters of the liver can be lost, and the organ can grow back or expand to its original size within several weeks. This allows people who need transplants to receive part of a living or deceased donor's liver.

Updates: Herbal Supplement Crackdown—GNC Reforms, by Alan Franciscus, Editor-in-Chief

In the February 2015 Mid-Monthly Advocate issue, I wrote about the New York State Attorney General’s Office crackdown on four major chains (GNC, Target, Walmart, and Walgreens).  The stores were selling herbal supplements that contained very little of the stated ingredients listed on the labels and that included contaminants.  The testing occurred in the brand named stores throughout New York State.  

Good news—GNC Holding announced that it had restocked some of the herbal supplements to their stores in New York after they reached an agreement with the New York Attorney General and complied and corrected the problems.  Furthermore, GNC agreed that they would adopt testing standards in the 6,000 stores nationwide that would exceed requirements that the Food and Drug Administration requires—this is a first for a major herbal supplement chain in the United States. 
Additionally, GNC committed to the following best practices: 
  • Authentication: Within 18 months GNC will implement DNA barcoding to confirm the plant's authenticity.
  • Broad Testing for Contaminants:  GNC will test for the eight most common allergens before and after production.
  • Consumer transparency:  GNC will prominently display signs in their stores and on their website with relevant information about the herbs and supplements including extracts, chemicals, and solvents used and explain the different processes.  GNC will list all ingredients on its product labels, per existing FDA rules.
  • Reporting:  GNC will provide semiannual reports to the Attorney General’s Office, detailing the above information.
In related news, 13 state attorneys have asked the U.S. Congress to investigate the herbal supplement industry based on the NY General’s Office investigation.  The state attorneys are considering giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) more oversight over herbal supplements.   However, it has been previously reported that the FDA is considerably underfunded already.  The question of undertaking a massive job of regulating herbal supplements would need a large funding package attached to any herbal regulation bill.   

Comment:  Regarding GNC—this is excellent progress.  However, where are the agreements with Target, Walmart, and Walgreens? Hopefully, the other stores will soon agree to the same terms as GNC.  If you want to know the potential harm of these herbs, check out the original article—it will make you think twice before buying any herbs or supplements unless there is some type of comprehensive oversight.  

Source: http://www.ag.ny.gov/press-release/ag-schneiderman-announces-agreement-gnc-implement-landmark-reforms-herbal-supplements