Globally, there are around 71 million people with hepatitis C. In Africa, more than 10 million people are infected with the virus.
The new oral therapies that have been developed to treat hepatitis C are much more effective and easier to take than the previous injections, and have fewer side effects.
In high-income countries, these drugs are known to work well. But the number of strains of the virus is limited in those countries. So it wasn’t known how useful the new drugs would be to treat other strains, mostly found in low-income countries. Over time the virus has become extremely genetically diverse.
A new study shows that the direct-acting antiviral drugs are also effective against more of the strains. They were shown to work against almost all the hepatitis C virus strains found across Africa.
This is valuable information for health systems in countries that have a limited infrastructure to diagnose infection, treat those who are infected and confirm that treatment has been successful. They need to know what works.
In today’s episode of Pasha, researchers John McLauchlan and Elihu Aranday-Cortes discuss hepatitis C and why the findings of their study are good news for low-income settings.
“Destruction of hepatitis C virus, 3D illustration. Conceptual image for hepatitis C treatment” by Kateryna Kon found on Shutterstock