Hepatitis C | Texas Public Radio

Hepatitis C

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Viral hepatitis causes more than a million deaths every year and this number's on the rise, but still nine of 10 people who are infected don't even know it.


Some veterans say they contracted hepatitis from the "jet gun" that was used to immunize them in the Vietnam era, but researchers haven't proven that link.

Alix Poulot (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) / Flickr http://bit.ly/2wDIrOL

An estimated 4 million people in the United States have hepatitis C, but most people who have the virus may not know they have it because the disease shows almost no symptoms. 

The Vietnam War ended more than 40 years ago, but it continues to claim military lives. Nearly every spring new names are etched into the black granite walls of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., which pays tribute to the more than 58,000 service members who lost their lives.

Flickr user @doug88888 / cc

The big story, the one that made news directors perk up their ears, made congressmen call hearings, and made jaws drop across the country was the story about a 62 year-old drug - a senior citizen of a drug - called Daraprim that overnight went from $13.50 a tablet to $750 a tablet. A 5000% increase for no other reason than a company called Turing Pharmaceuticals bought the drug and raised the price because it could.

UT Health Science Center

Today, Monday, July 28, is World Hepatitis Day and a local researcher has published a paper about a cure for Hepatitis C that he says is different and more available than a previous cure announced earlier this year.

The World Hepatitis Day website has a fun little diddy with hand puppets singing about the very serious disease. The song says viral hepatitis kills 1.5 million people around the world each year, the same number that die from HIV and AIDS.

Eileen Pace / TPR News

A San Antonio researcher has announced that he has found a cure for Hepatitis C.

In the first-of-its-kind study dedicated to patients with Hepatitis C and cirrhosis of the liver, Dr. Fred Poordad announced to the International Liver Congress in London over the weekend a new medicine that eradicated the Hepatitic C virus in more than 90 percent of patients studied. 

Poordad is a professor of medicine at the UT Health Science Center School of Medicine and vice president of the Texas Liver Institute and the lead author of the study. 

Flickr user @doug88888 / cc

In the first segment:

On Friday the FDA approved a new drug that, when taken in conjunction with other older remedies, cures 95 percent of Hepatitis C patients in a fraction of the time the old treatment regimen did. Hepatitis C, the liver degenerating disease, affects over three million U.S. citizens, and, surpassing HIV, last year killed over 15,000 people.

UT Health Science Center

A San Antonio research team has uncovered a way to cure the deadly Hepatitis C – promising shorter treatments and fewer side effects than today’s standard treatment.

Hepatitis C can be treated today with a battery of interferon interventions treatments -- which takes 48 weeks and the side effects are debilitating -- but a new treatment using a combination of drugs needs only 12 weeks to kill the virus with much fewer side effects.