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Possible vaccine gives hope to Hepatitis C sufferers

New Hepatitis C Treatment Boasts Over 90% Cure Rate
Scientists say a new treatment for hepatitis C could potentially cure the millions of people who are battling the infection.
KIVI reports that an experimental oral drug, called ABT-450, has cured more than 90 percent of patients infected with Hepatitis C

According to a study on the new treatment, it has cured 90 percent of previously untreated hepatitis C patients and 82 percent of patients who didn't respond to previous therapy in just weeks, as YouTube / hepctv shows.

Researchers tested the treatment, which is actually a combination of two different drugs, on 380 patients in four countries back in 2013.

They split the trial into two studies, which were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. One looked at the effect the drug had on patients over the course of 12 weeks, and the other stretched on for 24 weeks. After 12 weeks, 91.8 percent of patients were hepatitis C-free. And the 24-week study boasted a staggering 95.9 percent of patients cured.

The study's lead researcher told the BBC the drug works by zeroing in on the protein that makes the virus and stops it from multiplying. "It is fantastic," he said. "I am so excited for the patients. There is finally hope for their future."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 3.2 million Americans are infected with hepatitis C, but most don't even know it because there are often no symptoms. But if the virus is left untreated, it can lead to serious liver problems or even death.

And treatment's currently available have been painful and expensive. But this new drug could change that.

If it gets approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, ABT-450 could potentially replace Sovaldi, a medication that can cost up to $1,000 a day to use.

And even better? CBS reports none of the trial participants have suffered any adverse side effects from the drug. But some did report experiencing some mild ones like fatigue, headache, nausea and insomnia.

There is currently not a vaccine available to prevent hepatitis C, but doctors say you can protect yourself by avoiding behaviors that can spread the disease. That includes injection drug use.

Join the discussion

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hangr54 April 12 2014 at 11:50 AM

Get it on the market ASAP

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bfvanmetre April 12 2014 at 9:24 PM

I must comment on the inaccurate headline used for this article. The news is NOT about a hepatitis C vaccine, rather about new and much more effective treatment for hepatitis C. Please get it right - there is a big difference between vaccination and treatment.

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thomcit April 12 2014 at 8:50 PM

As a physician (surgeon), I was aware of the ongoing research and was very pleased with the results published in the NEJOM. This is promising news to every physician, regardless of specialty.

"HEP-C" is a nasty, chronic disease. Many patients (actually, the general public) are aware of HIV and the various STD's. While a growing % are aware of the insidious nature and seriousness of HEP-C, many are not.

When I was in med school, HIV was the primary concern of med students, physicians, nurses all allied health professional who came in contact with patients. At the time, the screening of blood for HIV was not completely perfected. When we were learning about all of "Infection Control" steps, we were taught to assume that every patient was carrying the virus. By making that assumption, all of the other infectious diseases could also be prevented. If there was a chance that we would come in contact with body fluid, we double-gloved, wore protective glasses, masks and gowns. At every virtually hospital, accidental needle-sticks occur. They were (and still are) immediately reported and meticulous records (by hospitals, agencies etc.) were kept. There were certain steps we were to take immediately and tests to undergo. While it never happened to me, I know those who were stuck were really, really worried until they received results from the lab. Thankfully, I personally never knew an individual who was infected with HIV.

But, a good friend did contract HEP-C as the result of an accidental needle stick. The disease lay dormant for several years. After we all left to serve our various residencies, I didn't see him for several years. He had completed his residency and I still had several years to go. I was a groomsman at his wedding (and he was a groomsman in mine). Yes, his fiancé knew and they took all necessary precautions. A few years later, he was beginning to experience the symptoms of HEP-C. Most noticeable (to me) was his lack of energy. He was chronically tired. Unfortunately, his disease progressed to the point where he could no longer practice. He was one of the unfortunate souls who succumbed due to complications of HEP-C.

I know he would be very pleased by the progress we've made in slowing the progression (there is no cure). This latest study appears to be very promising. Developing treatments (whether palliative, preventative or curative) of these chronic illnesses is extremely tedious. Sometimes, researchers have to wait until the technology is available. That technology can come from unexpected areas of scientific research. Much of the technology has been obtained via developments in the study of astrophysics and particle-physics. All it requires is a bright individual who recognizes that technology used in one area can be applied to a (seemingly) unrelated area.

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5 replies
firetlv April 12 2014 at 6:57 PM

I was in a trial for this drug last year from April until July (12 weeks). Went for my latest follow up on 3/31/14. I am still undetectable. So I am a year out from when the trial started and am considered "cured". I hate to use that word because I have lived with this for 40 plus years, and am still skeptical. But, so far so good. I hope all affected get access to this drug ASAP. I had minimal side affects. Fatigue, mostly, for the last four weeks, and a little trouble sleeping. But I would do it again.

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4 replies
Michele April 12 2014 at 6:43 PM

http://www.medhelp.org/forums/Hepatitis-C/show/75

If you go here they can answer all your questions.....I went there for support, they talk about all the new meds coming out...please try it, they are there for us, they have been through it and still going through it.....

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pamsdolls April 12 2014 at 5:59 PM

Make it affordable - or list where one can be in more trials for it.

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bmatthaeus April 12 2014 at 5:39 PM

its antiviral. not a vaccine

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1 reply
buffalogal bmatthaeus April 12 2014 at 9:26 PM

Thank you.

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edwardslimjim72 April 12 2014 at 5:10 PM

researchers need to tie a cure for hiv/aids

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souleb April 12 2014 at 4:36 PM

There are several companies developing this -- Gilead a CURE and a couple others too;

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dickn2000b April 12 2014 at 2:42 PM

I don't know why tis is headlined as a "Possible" vaccine. It has been tested and found to be over 95% effective. IT WORKS! If the FDA is dragging its feet I would suggest the manufacturer take it to Europe and other countries where there is no FDA and market it.

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