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Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus that infects the liver, where it causes significant inflammation, damage and disruption of normal liver function. According to estimates by the World Health Organization, around 3 to 4 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C every year.

The hepatitis C virus is usually transmitted through contact with the blood of an infected individual and, most commonly, people catch it through sharing contaminated needles when injecting illegal drugs.

Hepatitis C infection is categorized into an acute and a chronic stage. The acute phase describes the first 6 months of infection when there are not necessarily any symptoms. Around one quarter of people manage to clear the infection during this stage before disease progresses to the chronic stage.

People who go on to develop chronic hepatitis C may develop jaundice which turns the skin and whites of the eyes yellow. This is caused by the build-up of a yellow-colored substance in the blood called bilirubin that would usually be broken down by the liver if it was healthy. Chronic infection may eventually cause fibrosis and scarring (cirrhosis) of the liver, liver cancer or end stage liver failure.

Hepatitis C can be treated with antiviral medications that that are designed to disrupt the multiplication of virus particles inside the body and prevent liver damage.
Researchers identify new mechanisms capable of suppressing propagation of HCV

Researchers identify new mechanisms capable of suppressing propagation of HCV

Researchers at Osaka University, Japan uncovered the mechanisms that suppress the propagation of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) with the potential of improving pathological liver conditions. [More]
Researchers find easy way to ensure baby boomers get tested for hepatitis C

Researchers find easy way to ensure baby boomers get tested for hepatitis C

Baby boomers, adults born between 1945 and 1965, are five times more likely to have been exposed to the hepatitis C virus (HCV). [More]

New online learning activity may help GPs manage hepatitis C patients in primary care

A new online learning module, Managing hepatitis C in primary care, provides GPs with an update on the diagnosis, treatment and ongoing management of people with chronic hepatitis C infection. [More]
WHO urges countries to take rapid action to reduce new infections, deaths from viral hepatitis

WHO urges countries to take rapid action to reduce new infections, deaths from viral hepatitis

Ahead of World Hepatitis Day, 28 July 2016, WHO is urging countries to take rapid action to improve knowledge about the disease, and to increase access to testing and treatment services. [More]
Buprenorphine implants could be effective option to treat adults with opioid dependence

Buprenorphine implants could be effective option to treat adults with opioid dependence

While buprenorphine has long been used to treat adults with opioid dependence, its efficacy can be hindered by lack of adherence to daily, sublingual (beneath the tongue) doses of the medication. [More]
First clinical study for Zika vaccine to begin in Canada

First clinical study for Zika vaccine to begin in Canada

Université Laval's Infectious Disease Research Centre and Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec-Université Laval are proud to announce that the first clinical study for a Zika vaccine in Canada is set to begin in Quebec City. [More]

Researchers examine prevalence of CLD among ethnic minority populations in the U.S.

Chronic liver disease (CLD) and cirrhosis are serious liver conditions but little is known about how they affect ethnic minority populations in the United States. [More]
Mass incarceration of drug users leads to high levels of HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis among prisoners

Mass incarceration of drug users leads to high levels of HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis among prisoners

The War on Drugs, mass incarceration of drug users, and the failure to provide proven harm reduction and treatment strategies has led to high levels of HIV, tuberculosis, and hepatitis B and C infection among prisoners—far higher than in the general population. [More]
New report reveals prescription medication costs may increase up to 13% in 2016

New report reveals prescription medication costs may increase up to 13% in 2016

Prescription medication costs are expected to rise at least 11 percent, and possibly up to 13 percent, in 2016, according to a new report on national trends and projections in prescription drug expenditures. [More]
Research highlights global burden of HIV and other infectious diseases among prisoners and detainees

Research highlights global burden of HIV and other infectious diseases among prisoners and detainees

Prisoners and detainees worldwide have higher burdens of HIV, viral hepatitis and tuberculosis than the communities from which they come, and the regular cycling of infected people in and out of incarceration is worsening the epidemics both inside and outside of prison, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health-led research suggests. [More]
FIB-4 index predicts HBV-related HCC

FIB-4 index predicts HBV-related HCC

Japanese researchers reveal an association between elevated FIB-4 index 24 weeks after the initiation of nucleos(t)ide analogue therapy and the development of hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with chronic hepatitis B virus infection. [More]
Treatment for IBS proves difficult, survey reveals

Treatment for IBS proves difficult, survey reveals

A new national survey by Health Union of more than 1,000 individuals with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) reveals that the condition is difficult to diagnose and often even more difficult to treat. [More]
Epclusa drug receives FDA approval for treating adult patients with chronic HCV

Epclusa drug receives FDA approval for treating adult patients with chronic HCV

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Epclusa to treat adult patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) both with and without cirrhosis (advanced liver disease). [More]
MAIT cells of immune system can fight all sorts of bacterial and viral infections

MAIT cells of immune system can fight all sorts of bacterial and viral infections

Oxford University research has found that a little-studied and relatively unknown part of the human immune system could be twice as important as previously thought. [More]
Study finds dramatic increase in nonmedical use of prescription opioids in the U.S.

Study finds dramatic increase in nonmedical use of prescription opioids in the U.S.

Nonmedical use of prescription opioids more than doubled among adults in the United States from 2001-2002 to 2012-2013, based on a study from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health. Nearly 10 million Americans, or 4.1 percent of the adult population, used opioid medications in 2012-2013 a class of drugs that includes OxyContin and Vicodin, without a prescription or not as prescribed (in greater amounts, more often, or longer than prescribed) in the past year. [More]
First CRISPR/Cas9 screen helps identify human proteins required for Zika virus replication

First CRISPR/Cas9 screen helps identify human proteins required for Zika virus replication

Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School have performed the first CRISPR/Cas9 screen to discover human proteins that Zika virus needs for replication. [More]
Scientists identify potential drug target that disrupts Zika and similar viruses

Scientists identify potential drug target that disrupts Zika and similar viruses

Scientists potentially have found a way to disrupt Zika and similar viruses from spreading in the body. [More]
New survey shows how patients use social media to gain better understanding of health condition

New survey shows how patients use social media to gain better understanding of health condition

A new survey from Health Union of more than 2,200 people with chronic health conditions and their caregivers illustrates how patients use online health information to better understand their health condition, learn about symptoms and treatment, and share experiences with other patients living with the same health condition. [More]
Portal vein hypertension diminishes after hepatitis C recovery

Portal vein hypertension diminishes after hepatitis C recovery

This inflammatory viral infection of the liver causes inflexible scar tissue to form. This in turn impedes blood flow through the organ, with resulting hypertension in the portal vein. [More]
Study provides more insight into treatment options for severe hemophilia A

Study provides more insight into treatment options for severe hemophilia A

Families of children with severe hemophilia A may want to take a fresh look at treatment options from human plasma. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on May 26 showed that participants who received a recombinant therapy— the present standard in the United States — developed antibodies or "inhibitors" to the treatments at almost twice the rate as those whose treatments were made from human plasma. [More]
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