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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.
TSRI researchers uncover mechanism behind T cell exhaustion

TSRI researchers uncover mechanism behind T cell exhaustion

In a new study with broad implications for treating cancers and chronic viral infections, scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have uncovered a mechanism behind a phenomenon called “T cell exhaustion.” [More]
Two genes linked to increase in immunity to hepatitis C after childbirth, study shows

Two genes linked to increase in immunity to hepatitis C after childbirth, study shows

Alternative forms of two genes are associated with a boost in immunity to hepatitis C after childbirth, a study led by a Nationwide Children's Hospital physician-researcher shows. [More]
Over 1 million people treated with revolutionary hepatitis C medicines

Over 1 million people treated with revolutionary hepatitis C medicines

Over one million people in low- and middle-income countries have been treated with a revolutionary new cure for hepatitis C since its introduction two years ago. [More]
Poor, remote Indigenous Australians have increased risk of sexually transmissible infections

Poor, remote Indigenous Australians have increased risk of sexually transmissible infections

A unique 21-year study of more than 2.4 million cases of infectious disease across Australia reveals a major social divide where being poorer, living remotely or being an Indigenous Australian means having an increased risk of sexually transmissible infections (STIs). [More]
GAFFI: Access to rapid diagnostics, antifungals could prevent over a million AIDS-related deaths by 2020

GAFFI: Access to rapid diagnostics, antifungals could prevent over a million AIDS-related deaths by 2020

Fungal infection causes around half of AIDS-related deaths, of which there were 1,100,000 in 2015. A first of its kind analysis – ‘Modelling reduction in AIDS deaths’ by the University of Manchester’s Professor David W Denning and published today in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B – suggests that the opportunity to save lives is being missed. [More]
TSRI scientists discover reason for lack of successful HCV vaccine design

TSRI scientists discover reason for lack of successful HCV vaccine design

Researchers have been trying for decades to develop a vaccine against the globally endemic hepatitis C virus (HCV). Now scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have discovered one reason why success has so far been elusive. [More]
Scientists discover new mechanism for inadequate immune defense against chronic viral infection

Scientists discover new mechanism for inadequate immune defense against chronic viral infection

Scientists at the University of Basel discovered a fundamental new mechanism explaining the inadequate immune defense against chronic viral infection. These results may open up new avenues for vaccine development. They have been published in the journal "Science Immunology". [More]
New study raises serious safety concerns in clinical use of caspase inhibitors for liver injury

New study raises serious safety concerns in clinical use of caspase inhibitors for liver injury

Many acute and chronic liver diseases, including alcoholic hepatitis, result from apoptotic (programmed) cell death mediated by the enzyme caspase. [More]
Wyss Institute wins 'Best of What's New' award for paper-based rapid Zika test

Wyss Institute wins 'Best of What's New' award for paper-based rapid Zika test

A rapid Zika test, developed by an international, multi-institutional team of researchers led by synthetic biologist James Collins, Ph.D., at Harvard University's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, has today been named a 2016 "Best of What's New" awards winner by Popular Science magazine in the Health category. [More]
Many Canadian territories restrict access to medications for treating hepatitis C, study finds

Many Canadian territories restrict access to medications for treating hepatitis C, study finds

A study conducted by Canadian and Australian researchers shows that nearly everywhere in Canada, the provinces and territories impose obstacles to reimbursement of new direct-acting antivirals (DAA) to treat hepatitis C by because of their cost. [More]
Japanese researchers identify mechanism for hormone that limits liver fibrosis

Japanese researchers identify mechanism for hormone that limits liver fibrosis

Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) has been emerging worldwide and effective treatment, especially for liver fibrosis, is essential for improving the prognosis. [More]
Community outreach workers may help increase HBV vaccination rates to cut risk of liver cancer

Community outreach workers may help increase HBV vaccination rates to cut risk of liver cancer

Liver cancer is more common among Asian Americans in part because they are at high risk of HBV infection. [More]
Research findings provide new avenues to target virus infection

Research findings provide new avenues to target virus infection

Viral infection is one of the leading medical challenges of the 21st Century, ranging from the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) epidemic affecting 3% of the global population, to recent outbreaks of West Nile, Zika, and Ebola viruses. [More]
Parents do not perceive need to vaccinate children against influenza, study finds

Parents do not perceive need to vaccinate children against influenza, study finds

Despite the fact that influenza leads to more hospitalizations and deaths among children than any other vaccine-preventable disease, parents frequently decline vaccinating their children against influenza because they don't perceive the need, according to a new case-control study published in the October issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. [More]
MU researcher awarded $3 million NIH grant to develop new drugs for treating HBV

MU researcher awarded $3 million NIH grant to develop new drugs for treating HBV

Hepatitis B (HBV) is a viral infection that increases the likelihood of developing liver cancer or liver failure. [More]
Novartis gets three FDA approvals for expanded use of biologic drug to treat rare autoinflammatory diseases

Novartis gets three FDA approvals for expanded use of biologic drug to treat rare autoinflammatory diseases

Novartis announced today that the US Food and Drug Administration has granted three simultaneous approvals for the expanded use of Ilaris (canakinumab) to treat three rare and distinct types of Periodic Fever Syndromes. [More]
Global study assesses countries on health-related Sustainable Development Goals

Global study assesses countries on health-related Sustainable Development Goals

Worldwide, good progress has been made towards some of the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) since 2000, particularly in reducing under-5 and neonatal mortality, family planning, and the rollout of universal health care. [More]
New global health strategy aims to eliminate HCV as global public health threat by 2030

New global health strategy aims to eliminate HCV as global public health threat by 2030

Chronic infection by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) proved fatal for over 700,000 people worldwide in 2013, mainly as a result of liver damage. Although information on the epidemiology of transmission and infection is sparse, recent estimates put the global prevalence of HCV infection at 130-150 million people. [More]
Mice study finds new antiviral that can control flu infection

Mice study finds new antiviral that can control flu infection

A molecule the body produces naturally in response to virus infection could be a viable flu treatment in the future, suggest researchers at the Francis Crick Institute in London. [More]
Tips to prevent back-to-school illnesses in children

Tips to prevent back-to-school illnesses in children

The backpacks are packed, lunchboxes are filled and the little ones are back in school. Kids have returned to their classrooms with stories of their summer vacations, and, unfortunately, with a host of germs ready to spread quickly in a close environment. [More]
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