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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.
World Hepatitis Alliance calls for comprehensive hepatitis strategies to help prevent liver cancer deaths

World Hepatitis Alliance calls for comprehensive hepatitis strategies to help prevent liver cancer deaths

Rock-icon David Bowie died recently at the age of 69 after a battle with what is being reported as liver cancer. Each year, more than 800,000 people die from liver cancer globally, the second biggest cancer killer. Yet, a high majority of these deaths are completely preventable. [More]
Drinking extra 2 cups of coffee per day may reduce cirrhosis risk by 44%

Drinking extra 2 cups of coffee per day may reduce cirrhosis risk by 44%

Regular consumption of coffee was linked with a reduced risk of liver cirrhosis in a review of relevant studies published before July 2015. [More]
EC approves expanded use of Daklinza (daclatasvir) for patients with chronic HCV and HIV co-infection

EC approves expanded use of Daklinza (daclatasvir) for patients with chronic HCV and HIV co-infection

Bristol-Myers Squibb today announced that the European Commission has approved the expanded use of Daklinza, a first-in-class oral, once-a-day pill used in combination with other treatments as an option for adult patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection who are co-infected with HIV or who have had a prior liver transplant. [More]
Zepatier receives FDA approval for treatment of chronic HCV genotypes 1 and 4 infections

Zepatier receives FDA approval for treatment of chronic HCV genotypes 1 and 4 infections

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Zepatier (elbasvir and grazoprevir) with or without ribavirin for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes 1 and 4 infections in adult patients. [More]
FDA expands use of Opdivo + Yervoy Regimen for BRAF V600 mutant and wild-type advanced melanoma

FDA expands use of Opdivo + Yervoy Regimen for BRAF V600 mutant and wild-type advanced melanoma

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Opdivo in combination with Yervoy for the treatment of patients with BRAF V600 wild-type and BRAF V600 mutation-positive unresectable or metastatic melanoma. [More]
Monitoring HBcrAg levels could help optimise PEG-IFN therapy

Monitoring HBcrAg levels could help optimise PEG-IFN therapy

Serum hepatitis B core-related antigen could serve as a quantitative marker of response to pegylated interferon therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis B virus infection positive for hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg), findings indicate. [More]
Rescue TDF monotherapy effective in multidrug resistant chronic HBV

Rescue TDF monotherapy effective in multidrug resistant chronic HBV

Researchers from the Republic of Korea say that rescue therapy with tenofovir disoproxil fumarate alone is an appropriate option for patients with multidrug resistant chronic hepatitis B virus infection. [More]
STAT4 variant predicts HBV IFNα response

STAT4 variant predicts HBV IFNα response

Variation in the STAT4 gene is associated with response to interferon (IFN)α therapy in patients with hepatitis B e antigen-positive chronic hepatitis B virus infection, suggests research published in Hepatology. [More]
Only 17.4% of nurses comply with all nine standard precautions for infection prevention

Only 17.4% of nurses comply with all nine standard precautions for infection prevention

Only 17.4 percent of ambulatory care nurses reported compliance in all nine standard precautions for infection prevention, according to a study published in the January issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. [More]
Study outlines new model to help predict age-related response to hepatitis B vaccine

Study outlines new model to help predict age-related response to hepatitis B vaccine

Physicians have known for years that patients respond differently to vaccines as they age. There may soon be a new way to predict and enhance the effectiveness of vaccinations, in particular the hepatitis B vaccine. [More]
Scientists reveal why non-alcoholic steatohepatitis worsens in obese people

Scientists reveal why non-alcoholic steatohepatitis worsens in obese people

In results published on October 19, 2015 in the Journal of Lipid Research, a team of translational scientists at the Medical University of South Carolina report a new reason why non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) worsens in people who are obese. [More]
Estrogen helps women fight flu virus better than men

Estrogen helps women fight flu virus better than men

Estrogen dramatically reduced the amount of flu virus that replicated in infected cells from women but not from men, a new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health shows. [More]
Estrogen may protect women against flu

Estrogen may protect women against flu

The female sex hormone estrogen has anti-viral effects against the influenza A virus, commonly known as the flu, a new study in American Journal of Physiology—Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology reports. [More]
Inflammation associated with elevated glutamate in the brain could guide depression treatments

Inflammation associated with elevated glutamate in the brain could guide depression treatments

Psychiatrists investigating depression have been energized in recent years by reports of rapid, successful treatment with drugs that interfere with the brain chemical glutamate, such as the anesthetic ketamine. [More]
Pre-existing nutritional deficits, immune dysfunction may increase hepatitis E risk during pregnancy

Pre-existing nutritional deficits, immune dysfunction may increase hepatitis E risk during pregnancy

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have found a link between pre-existing nutritional deficits and immune dysfunction and the risk of hepatitis E infection during pregnancy. [More]

AbbVie begins six global Phase 3 clinical studies to evaluate efficacy of investigational HCV regimen

AbbVie, a global biopharmaceutical company, today announced the initiation of six global Phase 3 clinical studies evaluating the safety and efficacy of its all-oral, once-daily, ribavirin-free investigational hepatitis C virus (HCV) regimen, ABT-493, an NS3/4A protease inhibitor, and ABT-530, an NS5A inhibitor, in patients with genotypes 1-6 (GT1-6) chronic HCV infection. [More]
GPR119 could be a potential treatment target for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

GPR119 could be a potential treatment target for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

New research published in the January 2016 issue of The FASEB Journal suggests that the G-protein-coupled receptor 119 (GPR119) could be a viable treatment target for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. This receptor has already been identified as a drug target for diabetes and obesity, and this report raises hopes that compounds that target GPR119 for diabetes or obesity might also work for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. [More]
ISHLT issues new list of criteria to determine patient eligibility for heart transplant

ISHLT issues new list of criteria to determine patient eligibility for heart transplant

To determine patient eligibility for heart transplant, the International Society for Heart Lung Transplantation maintains a list of criteria, first issued in 2006, that acts as a guideline for physicians. [More]
CFDA issues new drug certificate and production license for Sinovac's EV71 vaccine

CFDA issues new drug certificate and production license for Sinovac's EV71 vaccine

Sinovac Biotech Ltd., a leading provider of biopharmaceutical products in China, today announced that the China Food and Drug Administration issued the new drug certificate and production license for its Enterovirus 71 ("EV71") vaccine. [More]
Processed foods may increase likelihood of developing autoimmune diseases

Processed foods may increase likelihood of developing autoimmune diseases

In today's hustle and bustle world, processed foods are commonplace time-savers. But that convenience factor may come with a bigger price tag than previously known, says an international team of researchers. [More]
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