New cure for hepatitis C which could help over 2.7 million people in the United States has been developed by a research team at the Intermountain Medical Center in Murray.
The director of the Liver Transplantation Program, Dr. Michael Charlton, together with his research team, claim to have found an oral treatment which is able to cure most of the patients infected with hepatitis C virus.
The findings and the medical protocol have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The results will be presented during a press conference on Friday, 11 a.m. at the Intermountain Medical Center.
The medical trial, which included researchers at 50 sites across the United States and Puerto Rico, has promising results. The protocol has improved the liver function in the majority of the patients who were following it. Over 90 percent of the patients in the clinical trial have been cured.
Researchers argue that even if it needs a longer follow-up, the treatment will possibly dramatically decrease the number of patients who need a liver transplant as a result of hepatitis C.
Another effective treatment has been developed in Canada, as two different drugs marketed under the names Sovaldi and Harvoni, which are both direct acting anti-virals. Unlike previous treatments which had awful side-effects, the two drugs show little or no side effects at all.
One person cured with the help of the new drugs is Lyn Moehling, who found out that she’s been living with hepatitis C for over 40 years only when she went to donate blood. On a scale from 1 to 20, where 20 is total liver failure, her scan was around 16 so she was preparing for the worst.
Then, Moehling was put under treatment with Sovaldi, taking one pill per day for 12 weeks, without any side effects. After the 12 weeks, her liver function returned to almost normal.
However, the treatment would not be accessible to everyone if the retail price for Sovaldi stays between $60,000 and $90,000 for eight to 24 weeks of treatment.
The Canadian government pays for the medication but only for people whose liver damage reached at least Stage 2. This makes it hard for many patients who know that there is a cure for the disease which is threatening their life but they do not have access to it because it is too expensive and the state doesn’t consider them sick enough.
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