Direct-acting antiviral drugs (DAAs) to treat hepatitis C have proven to be a spectacular success, being able to cure more than 95% of people who have been living with the virus. However, a growing issue has implications for the design of future DAAs, and that is the ability of the hepatitis C virus–like all viruses–to mutate. Mutant versions of viruses can “learn” to defeat the medications used to treat them by changing their structure or the way they interact with the bodies they infect.
When they help the virus evade the effects of medication, we call these changes “drug resistance mutations” (DRMs), and they can make it much harder to cure infections. When a drug-resistant version of a virus becomes the dominant one, it can make a previously useful drug completely ineffective.
Continue reading “Hepatitis C Drug Resistance”
Maureen Cook went from worrying about how long she had to live to planning for a whole new life. It only took her 23 years.
“I found out I had hepatitis C in 2000 when a diligent and insightful GP decided to test me for it when she found out I had hepatitis B back in 1975. I’d cleared the hep B then and didn’t think about it anymore. Didn’t know I had hepatitis C,” she recalled.
Continue reading “Waking to a New Life”
Danish scientists have solved the question of how the hepatitis C virus (HCV) hides in humans. With a new method for examining virus samples, researchers from the University of Copenhagen have solved a long-standing mystery about how the virus avoids the human body’s immune defence system. The result may have an impact on how we track and treat viral diseases in general. The study has just been published in the scientific journal Nature.
Continue reading “How Hep C Hides from the Immune System”
In our last post we looked at how researchers at the Gender, Law and Drugs (GLaD) program at La Trobe University, Melbourne, have been running the Post-Cure Lives Project. This was designed to document the post-cure experiences of people successfully treated for hepatitis C,the views of key stakeholders,and latent and emerging discrimination-related challenges in a hepatitis C post-cure world.
Continue reading “Stigma and Discrimination in a Post-Cure World – Part 2”
Readers of this blog will know hepatitis C well as a blood-borne virus which can lead to cirrhosis, liver failure and other major health problems. Along with hepatitis B, it is the primary cause of liver cancer in Australia—the fastest growing cause of cancer death in the country.
Continue reading “Stigma and Discrimination in a Post-Cure World – Part 1”
The rate of hepatitis C infections in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Australia is increasing even as infection rate decreases in the wider community. This is despite the introduction of direct-acting antiviral (DAA) drugs that offer the chance to completely eliminate the hepatitis C virus (HCV).
Continue reading “Hep C Treatment Barriers for Rural Aboriginal South Australians”