Curing the preponderance of patients treated for hepatitis C virus (HCV) is one of medicine’s most notable milestones, but research in this area appears to be grinding to a halt, according to a commentary in the first 2017 issue of Hepatology.
With HCV dominating the subspecialty of hepatology for the past 25 years, some scientists believe that research should turn its attention and monetary resources to more urgent needs.
Other experts disagree with that viewpoint. “The mission for HCV eradication is far from accomplished,” Hugo R. Rosen, MD, FACP, FAASLD, head of gastroenterology and hepatology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Denver, noted in the commentary.
Note: Thanks to Mindy for forwarding this news item – Alan
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.
At three months postpartum, the number of viruses circulating in the blood declined sharply in most women who carried particular versions of IFNL3 and HLA-DPB1 genes. Mothers lacking these gene variants experienced little change in viral levels after delivery.
The research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study focused on hepatitis C, but it may serve as a model for identifying factors that restore immunity to other chronic infections, the researchers suggest.
In a new study, researchers quantified global and regional body composition changes in patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC), and compare them with healthy controls to identify a potential association between hepatitis C and body composition changes.
The study, published in the Journal of Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases, was the first to compare CHC patients with controls in regards to soft tissue body composition changes. To date, CHC patient body composition was mainly used to evaluate the impact on bone metabolism, while the examination of lean body mass and fat was not evaluated.
The cross-sectional study involved a cohort of 60 CHC patients who were enrolled at the National Institute for Infectious diseases from August 2015 to February 2016, along with 60 healthy control counterparts. Researchers collected relevant demographic (age, gender), anthropometric (BMI), cigarette smoking data, and disease related data from study participants.
Note: People who are interested in the development of sofosbuvir by public and private money, the acquisition of sosbuvir by Gilead, and how keeping stockholders happy are the future of drug development in America should listen to the podcast by clicking on the link below – Alan
Victor Roy and Lawrence King argue that the acquisition strategies of drug companies magnify development costs and leave the public paying twice—for research and high priced medicines
Sofosbuvir based medicines have marked an important breakthrough for patients with hepatitis C infection, offering cure rates of over 90%. The virus is a leading infectious killer globally, disproportionately affecting vulnerable groups such as people who inject drugs or have HIV/AIDS.1 Even after discounts offered from a US list price of about $90 000 (£70 000; €80 000) per three month treatment course, however, the cost of these drugs, manufactured by Gilead Sciences, has challenged government budgets and led to rationing. Sofosbuvir’s pricing has been at the centre of a global debate over the affordability of prevailing systems of drug development, and the US Senate conducted an 18 month investigation into Gilead’s pricing strategy and its consequences for health budgets and patient access.2
One argument for the high prices has been that the curative drugs represent a major advance in value to patients and health systems. They are indeed more cost effective than many expensive medicines that provide only marginal benefit. Yet the company’s ability to charge high prices ultimately relies on monopoly protections via patents, which the industry has long argued are necessary to encourage costly research and development. Critics, however, charge that these costs are exaggerated.345