(Mirror Daily, United States) – A potential breakthrough has been announced, and that new drugs might cure hepatitis C in the following years, pending FDA approval. The virus infection might be eliminated once and for all now that a new approach has been suggested to work even on patients who are on the cusp of needing a liver transplant.
Researchers from the Intermountain Medical Center believe they have found a potential cure for the previously incurable infection. They plan on presenting their breakthrough approach and send the treatment out for the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It could help millions of people across the nation, and save numerous lives.
Reportedly, there are 2.7 million patients in the United States currently living with chronic hepatitis C. The virus infection will lead to liver failure, and ultimately death, unless the patient opts for a liver transplant. It’s a dangerous and very expensive procedure, and may not even be definitive. Even with a new liver, the disease may return.
However, according to lead author of the research, Dr. Michael Charlton, their new results have shown promise in clinical trials. Their new treatment consists of a simple one or two pills per day for 12 weeks, and has a success rate of actually curing the disease of a whopping 90%. A couple of years ago, the thought of a cure was foreign.
As stated by Dr. Charlton, it’s “an emotional thing” for patients who have lived with the disease for years, only to find out that it would be cured forever.
Hepatitis C is a blood-borne disease. The patients gets infected through contaminated blood, which might arrive from unsanitized needles. After exposure, they will start feeling fatigue, fever, nausea, stomach pain, and jaundice, which could lead to death. The virus will effectively attack the liver, cause scarring or cancer, and, ultimately, liver failure.
Eventually, patients would need a liver transplant. There are other potential therapies that were costly and with just a 25% cure rate. In fact, current therapies require between $84,000 and $95,000 for a full course of treatment. Even then, the chances are slim of a complete cure, and there are several side effects, such as hair loss. Transplant was usually the last phase.
Researchers claimed that with their new treatment, even those on the brink could be saved. It would eradicate hepatitis C and restore liver function. They are considered a new class of medicine, and are more effective against the more powerful strains of the virus. It could potentially be a life-saving treatment. Dr. Charlton stated that they had not lost a single patient in 2 years due to the medications.
Their findings will be presented on Friday, and will hit the markets in mid-2016 depending on FDA approval. The cost will reportedly be around the same as other existing hepatitis C medications. However, they have a much higher success rate, and it’s still cheaper than a liver transplant, which can range between $500,000 and $700,000.
Image source: thealbioncentre.org.au