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Hep C on the Rise While Pharma Industry Solidifies R&D Efforts

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Published on : Mar 25, 2016

The prevalence of the hepatitis C virus has gone up over the past decade. The reasons for this are quite diverse, ranging from the already-existing number of infected patients that have not received treatment yet, to the ease with which HVC can spread from person to person. All it takes is one misdiagnosis or the use of badly sterilized equipment between surgeries. The thing about hepatitis C is that it affects the liver, which, due to its redundant portion, will not show signs of infection directly. Most people who are infected with HVC show the major signs only after the disease has affected more than half of the liver, which creates enough complications already. To top that, if the patient, during the early stages of the infection, when he or she does not show the symptoms, goes out to donate blood, or undergoes some kind of surgery, it directly jeopardizes the life of the blood recipient or the patient who is operated on with the same instruments. To avoid this, there are blood screening tests and standard sterilization techniques. Failure to comply with these standards will directly put an unsuspecting person in harm’s way.

Medical Advancements in HVC Treatment
There was no major or standard treatment option of HVC till 2010. Until the advent of treatments such as Viekira Pak, released by AbbBie, or Sovaldi and Harvoni, released by Gilead Sciences, the world of medicine was ill-equipped to successfully treat the infected. So much so, that the older procedures were highly intrusive, causing doctors to postpone treatment on a patient, till a better treatment option comes along. These patients, known as “warehoused patients”, had to wait till their chances of getting cured were increased. The problem does not stop there. With modern medicine going all out in the fight against HVC, the costs of implementing these treatments is so much, that without some kind of reimbursement policy, an ordinary patient is mostly rendered incapable of availing the treatment.

The future of the global HVC market remains brighter. For instance, the USFDA had recently approved the use of a RNA test by Roche for the testing of HVC. This test shows a higher success rate in the diagnosis of HVC than previous ones.