Note: I’m glad that some attention is being paid to children with hepatitis C (HCV). I have written a review article on hepatitis C and children for the August 2017 HCV Advocate newsletter so stay tuned. The article below is a very good interview about a study that was presented at ILC about the state of HCV in children worldwide. Alan
Professor Deirdre Kelly CBE discusses the relationship between childhood-acquired hepatitis C virus and serious long-term liver damage.
One of the most widespread transmissible diseases in the world, hepatitis C affects more than 185 million people worldwide, including 215,000 in the UK, and kills roughly 350,000 every year. The scale of the problem is such that one-third of all cases of childhood-acquired hepatitis C virus results in chronic liver disease, end-stage cirrhosis and liver cancer – increasing the likelihood of a liver-related death by as many as 26 times.
Now, a new study from researchers at Birmingham Children’s Hospital UK, part of Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and presented at The International Liver Congress™, has revealed new insight into the role that antiviral therapy could play in reducing serious long-term liver damage among people who contracted the virus in childhood. The research, led by renowned liver expert Professor Deirdre Kelly – who in 2016 was awarded a CBE in recognition of her pioneering work to improve outcomes for children with liver disease – has prompted urgent calls to make new drugs, which are 90-100% successful in clearing the infection, available to children via the NHS as they already are to adults in the UK.