Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

New findings on hepatitis C in infants can lead to improved treatments

Only about 5% of babies born to mothers with hepatitis C are themselves infected by the disease. A possible reason for this low figure is that the baby's immune system has already destroyed the virus before birth. Researchers ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

How the immune system reacts to hepatitis C viruses

If a virus penetrates a cell, the immune system reacts immediately and produces the signaling protein interferon. This protein activates hundreds of highly specialized defence mechanisms in all surrounding cells, which can ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

What people living with hepatitis C need to know about COVID-19

Hepatitis C infections tripled in the U.S. from 2009-18, prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to update screening recommendations that include all adults and pregnant women. This increase is especially ...

HIV & AIDS

Bundled rapid HIV/Hep C testing may improve infection awareness

(HealthDay)—For people with substance use disorders, combining HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) testing and providing immediate test results may increase the number of people who are aware of their infection status, according ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Hep C screening recommended for adults, pregnant women

(HealthDay)—Hepatitis C screening is recommended for all adults and for all pregnant women, except where the prevalence is below 0.1 percent; meanwhile, the annual rate of reported acute hepatitis C cases increased to 1.2 ...

Medications

Treatments for coronavirus: Repurposing existing drugs

Why develop new drugs to combat the replication of the coronavirus if existing approved substances could do the same thing? Repurposing drugs in this fashion could offer a faster remedy against pathogens that have as yet ...

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Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is an infectious disease affecting the liver, caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The infection is often asymptomatic, but once established, chronic infection can progress to scarring of the liver (fibrosis), and advanced scarring (cirrhosis) which is generally apparent after many years. In some cases, those with cirrhosis will go on to develop liver failure or other complications of cirrhosis, including liver cancer.

The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is spread by blood-to-blood contact. Most people have few, if any symptoms after the initial infection, yet the virus persists in the liver in about 85% of those infected. Persistent infection can be treated with medication, peginterferon and ribavirin being the standard-of-care therapy. Only 51% are cured overall. Those who develop cirrhosis or liver cancer may require a liver transplant, and the virus universally recurs after transplantation.

An estimated 270-300 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is a strictly human disease. It cannot be contracted from or given to any animal. Chimpanzees can be infected with the virus in the laboratory, but do not develop the disease, which has made research more difficult. No vaccine against hepatitis C is available. The existence of hepatitis C (originally "non-A non-B hepatitis") was postulated in the 1970s and proved conclusively in 1989. It is one of five known hepatitis viruses: A, B, C, D, and E.

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