12 WEEKS CURE SET TO CLEAR OUT HEPATITIS C. UK on course to see end of this disease.
HEPATITIS ! It comes in various forms.
I once contracted a form of viral Hepatitis whilst taking a course for members of the British Armed Forces at the main Army base of Aldershot in UK. HALF WAY THROUGH THE 2 WEEK COURSE I WAS LEADING, I BECAME ILL WITH DIARRHOEA, SICKNESS, AND INCREASING LISTLESSNESS.
At the end of the period, feeling dreadful, I returned home only to infect my wife and two young sons with it ! The very young boys, as often occurs with this form of Hepatitis had a couple of days feeling poorly and then moved on as if nothing had happened but my wife fared worse and ended up in an isolation ward for 7 days before shrugging of both being infectious and ill herself.
I took longer but eventually struggled free. It transpired that I had possibly caught the disease through infected water or food wholst at the Garrison, which says little to commend the Officers Mess there at the time if correct, although as my students were those who had taken tours of duty in distant climates in their recent pasts, it could be that droplet infection from one such could have triggered the problem.
Whatever the cause, it was not something I had any desire to repeat and thankfully have not done so. to this day some 35 or more years on.
The ABC"S of HEPATITIS.
The simple definition of Hepatitis is "Inlammation of the Liver". As we all know these days, the liver is an important organ in the body. Also since I had my brush we Hepatitis those years ago, we have all learnd of the form that is now inextricably associated with the sexually contracted killer disease potential, HIV
.AS A RESULT hEPATITIS HAS, FOR SOME AT LEAST, ASSUMED VOODOO LEVEL STATUS.
I do not intend here to go on about the different forms of Hepatitis but would direct readers to an informative web site called, "Medicine. Net. com. where comprehansive information on different types of Hepatitis and their causes and symptoms can be found. For purposes here it suffices to state that Hepatitis comes as different types, all identified by a letter.
Thus, we find the following as types of different Hepatitis, all with seperate causes and effects. The list is a follows, HEPATITIS A, B, C ,D, E, G. . Go to the web site for full details on each of these.
Here, we look at just one type, HEPATITIS C, and the news that a medical breakthrough has been announced which could rid a country like UK of this type of Hepatitis rid totally of this form of the disease inside 10 years.
BORN 1989. DIED 20??.
Hepatitis C was first clearly identified as a type of Hepatitis in 1989, years after my own personal tryst with Hepatitis. This form is classified as "Blood- bourne". As we all now know, great care has to be taken over blood transfusions to ensure that what are often intended as lifesavers, do not end up as " life-takers" In the modern world. Sadly ,the disease is now mostly transmitted by people sharing needles or suffering infection from the weird craze that attracts so many these days it seems, of tatooing the body. Why anyone with even half a brain cell would find the need or desire to deface their body with graffiti is well beyond me but so many of all types, class and intelligent do so that I become to think that it is only me out of step. Apparently, the rich and famous, as well as that wide trough full of people termed "Celebrities" are queuing up in droves to outdo each other on the "body art" stakes. Madness I call it !
IN THE UK, IT HAS BEEN CALCULATED THAT OVER 215,000 PEOPLE ARE INFECTED WITH TYPE C. WORRYINGLY 50% OF THAT NUMBER REMAIN AS UNDIAGNOSED.
The disesae is a "slow burn" which explains why so many remain undiagnosed. As many as 30 /40 years can elapse before Cirrhosis develops in the rotting liver or liver cancer emerges. The scale of the advance of type C however, is shown in the fact that it now kills more people than HIV related causes !
The new treatment is thus, a significant advance to halt the increased ravages of this rampant disease that have been noted over the past 30 years or so since it was identified. Now there seems a real chance that, identified as stated in 1989, that by the mid 2020"s this particular curse on mankind could be mere History.
HITTING AT THE HEART OF THE VIRUS. New Drug Named.
For sometime now, medicine has been used to control the disease have been developed and to some good effect, though they can last up to a year and contain unpleasant side effects. These treatments involve the drugs INTERFERON AND RIBAVIRIN tablets. Now, by adding to them the new discovery, SOFOSBUVIR, treatment is not only enhanced, but is easier for the body to tolerate.
Medical authority from the prestigious Queen Mary University of London states that up to 90% of patients were cured in just 9 weeks of traetment and that if, on average, 20,000 patients are treated annually that in 10 years time, no one will transmit the virus and thus, it will be gone.
SOFOSBUVIR, the new key to treatment, works, by attacking the enzyme at the very heart of the virus and thus stopping the mutating and resistance forming process
COSTS ! As ever the big factor.
As with most things Medical, advance is one thing and providing treatment quite another. The bugbear is always finance and here there is no difference.
£35.000 is the current cost of treating 1 patient for the 12 week course required. Set against this however ,are annual NHS costs of treating patients with the disease of £156,000 millionannually ! Quite a steep cost. The Medics hope further advances in the very near future will cut out the need for Interferon, the worst side effect causer, whilst at the sametime, cutting down treatment time and thus reducing overall costs.
The best news of all is that calculations now reveal that 97% of patients traeted with SUBOSBUVIR will see a full recovery.
The only fly in the ointment is the time taken to identify the Hepatitis C in the patient. Some patients are not identified until they have become seriously ill and the Hepatitis C Trust is amongst others backing calls for a comprehensive screening programme to detect the disease early and thus provide the new treatment as early as possible.
Prior to the new discovery, Type C Hepatitis had been regarded as a chronic sickness virus inevitably leading to damaged liver and cirrhosis. The advance now raises informed hopes that in the future it will become thought of, like other viruses, in other words, as a nasty thing, but one that can be easily cured. For that to happen, the call goes out to all to not delay being tested for this often sleepy, but nevertneless progressive and degeneterating disease.
REMEMBER THE NAME, SOFOSBUVIR,
IT COULD SAVE MANY LIVES, AND MAYBE JUST MAYBE, EVEN YOUR OWN.