Hepatitis C has possibly been cured, but...
In April, 2012 a human study with a combination of Gillead Sciences' Sofosbuvir
, and Bristol-Myers' Daclatasvir led to a 100 percent cure rate for hepatitis-C, the world's leading cause of liver disease. Unfortunately, Gillead, which paid billions for Pharmasset
, the company that developed Sofosbuvir, refused to allow additional studies with Bristol-Myers
, choosing instead to try developing a proprietary cure, possibly using highly toxic Ribavirin
. They are also backing away from a similarly successful study completed this year
, previously approved by Pharmasset. Since Gilliad's delay of additional human studies, approximately 300,000 people worldwide have died
from liver disease related to Hepatitis-C and 40% of all available liver transplants have been diverted to a treatable disease, while up to 200 million additional infected people worldwide
-- many of whom do not know they are infected until the end stages of the disease
-- are still waiting for a cure. Meanwhile, Hepatitis-C activists are trying to petition the White House to find a way to resolve the impasse.Hepatitis C is transmitted through blood
and any activity that can lead to blood exposure. Many were potentially exposed to it through dialysis, blood transfusions, or organ transplants, which didn't screen the disease until the early '90s, and roughly one case in ten has no obvious cause, but could've been transmitted from things as benign as piercings and tattoos, acupuncture, or sharing nail clippers, razors, or tooth brushes.
It has infected approximately 1 in every 50 Baby Boomers
, most of whom do not know of their infection until being tested for other potential liver problems. 3.2 million Americans are estimated to have it, and most cases remain undiagnosed until the disease has progressed towards its end stage
. Those infected often do not develop symptoms for up to 20 years and can spread it to others without realizing.
Hepatitis-C now kills more Americans than HIV
and known cases are emerging rapidly throughout even industrialized countries like the U.S.
Although often undiagnosed, it is estimated that Hepatitis C is responsible for approximately 40%
of the 849,000 deaths worldwide from liver disease per year
, or roughly 340,000 people. It also is responsible for about 40% of liver transplants, which could be used to save the lives of many thousands of others if if hepatitis-C is eradicated.