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 Hepatitis C Weekly News

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Weekly news updates are currently posted on our homepages, weekly news pages and sent directly to your inbox to provide up-to-date information on what has been covered in the news regarding hepatitis C in the previous week.

Hepatitis C News Update

Cytokeratins Could Aid Early Detection of Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Patients with HCV
“A new model based on cytokeratin 18 (CK18), cytokeratin 19 (CK19), albumin, platelet count, and α-fetoprotein (AFP) may offer a refined approach for detecting hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV).”

Glecaprevir, Pibrentasvir Effective for HCV Regardless of Cirrhosis, Treatment Period
“Findings from a recent study suggest glecaprevir/pibrentasvir therapy is effective for patients with cirrhosis with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, regardless of whether they undergo an 8 or 12-week treatment period.”

Increased Social Support Linked to HCV Status Awareness, Treatment Uptake
“Individuals with a history of injection drug use who have a robust social support system are more likely to seek care for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, according to study results published in Open Forum Infectious Diseases.”

HCV Genotype, First-Line Therapy Do Not Impact Salvage Therapy Response
“Combination sofosbuvir, velpatasvir, and voxilaprevir (SOF/VEL/VOX) is a safe and effective rescue therapy for patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) who previously failed sofosbuvir/velpatasvir (SOF/VEL) and glecaprevir/pibrentasvir (GLE/PIB), according to findings from a recent study.”

Free Hepatitis C Treatment Program Reduces Community Viral Load
“In a rural Kentucky county, free medical care and direct-acting antiviral treatment for people with hepatitis C greatly reduced the proportion of people with hepatitis C virus (HCV) viremia, or detectable viral load, researchers reported at The Liver Meeting 2023.”

Unstable Housing May Be a Barrier to HCV Treatment Among People Who Inject Drugs
“Unstable housing may lead to poorer treatment outcomes among people who inject drugs (PWID) with hepatitis C virus (HCV) versus those with stable housing, according to findings from a recent systematic review and meta-analysis.”

Hepatitis C News Update

Birth outcomes linked to age among pregnant HCV patients
“Analysis reveals rising hospitalization rates among pregnant women with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and age as a critical factor influencing maternal and fetal health outcomes.”

Hepatitis Awareness Month 2024
“Millions of Americans are living with hepatitis without knowing it. Spread the word about hepatitis testing, prevention and treatment this month.”

America’s prison system is turning into a de facto nursing home
“In late 2018, Richard Washington sent a memo to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit with the subject line “Notice I am being killed.” The 64-year-old man, who decades earlier was convicted on armed robbery charges, was serving a 63-year prison sentence in Arizona. In his letter, he alleged that the Department of Corrections was refusing to give him medication for his various health issues, which included diabetes, hypertension, and hepatitis C. Because of the lack of treatment, Washington wrote, “My greatest fear is that I’m going to die more sooner than later.”
About six weeks later, he was dead.”

Artificial Intelligence in GI and Hepatology
“Since our prior Perspectives piece on artificial intelligence (AI) in GI and Hepatology in 2022, the field has seen almost exponential growth. Expectations are high that AI will revolutionize our field and significantly improve patient care. But as the global discussion on AI has shown, there are real challenges with adoption, including issues with accuracy, reliability, and privacy.”

Acute Hepatitis C, HCV-Related Cirrhosis on the Rise in Reproductive Age Women
“Leveraging data from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2019 database, study results showed that although global age-standardized incidence rates remained stable between 1990–2019, there was a 46.45% increase in the global incidence of acute infection and a 72.74% increase in the global incidence of HCV-related cirrhosis among women of reproductive age.”

Hepatitis C rates on the rise
“Health officials are encouraging people to get tested for Hepatitis C, as more people in Kentucky are infected with the virus than any other state in the nation. “Kentucky is no stranger to the Hepatitis C virus,” said Holly Husband in a press release. Husband, marketing manager for KentuckyOne Health, added that more than 38,000 Kentuckians are currently infected with Hepatitis C, according to estimates from the Kentucky Department for Public Health.”

Needle exchange struggles to finalize Bangor locations after city objection
“Months after a Bangor nonprofit received certification to provide sterile syringes to people who inject drugs, the organization is struggling to determine where it can operate with the city’s approval.”

Hepatitis Awareness Month promotes screening, vaccination
“Throughout May, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will work with public health partners to raise awareness of viral hepatitis and promote testing and vaccination efforts to limit the spread of the prevalent liver disease. Hepatitis Awareness Month, held each May, includes events and activities to help the community be aware of viral hepatitis — liver inflammation caused by a viral infection — how it spreads, and the serious consequences that can arise if it isn’t treated. Another goal is to decrease the social stigma surrounding it that can limit an individual’s willingness to get tested and treated. May 19 is also Hepatitis Testing Day, a national effort observed since 2012 to promote screening for hepatitis B and C, two types of viral hepatitis that affect an estimated 862,000 and 2.4 million people in the U.S., respectively.”

Metformin, Statins May Reduce Hepatocellular Carcinoma Risk After HCV Treatment Failure
“Study results were published in Clinical and Molecular Hepatology and showed patients with diabetes using metformin and patients with hyperlipidemia using statins who failed HCV interferon-based therapy had a lower risk of developing HCC.”

Missouri Healthnet extends contract with hepatitis C drugmaker
“MO Healthnet has extended a contract with Abbvie for another three years to make its prescription drug with a 98-percent cure rate available at no cost to Medicaid recipients. Project Hep-Cure will begin in July and last through June of 2027. More than 27,000 Medicaid members have hepatitis C, but less than a quarter of them receive treatment. According to the nonprofit HepVu, Greene County has the highest mortality rate of any county in the state.”

Hepatitis C News Update

OCO Brings Rapid Hep-C Testing to Oswego County
“FULTON – With cases of Hepatitis C on the rise, both locally and nationally, Oswego County Opportunities (OCO) Centers for Reproductive Health are making it easier for individuals to receive testing for Hepatitis C. Beginning in May, New York State will require all persons 18 years of age and older to be offered a Hepatitis C test. Those under 18 years of age, but with a risk, will also be offered the opportunity to receive Hepatitis C testing.”

City of West Hollywood to Host Hepatitis C Community Educational Forum
“The City of West Hollywood will host a free Hepatitis C Community Educational Forum in Los Angeles County. The forum will take place on Wednesday, May 8, 2024 at 6:30 p.m. at the City of West Hollywood’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. The forum will be preceded by a reception with a light dinner, courtesy of Gilead. Pre-registration is requested via Eventbrite. Limited parking will be available in the adjacent 5-story West Hollywood Park parking structure and event attendees will receive a two-hour validation.”

Addressing irAEs Limits Interruption or Discontinuation in HCC
“A retrospective study to delineate the profile of immune-related adverse events (irAEs) and their association with first-line immunotherapy in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) revealed that 40% of patients developed irAEs after receiving the first and second doses of immunotherapy, according to findings presented during the European Association for the Study of Liver (EASL) Liver Cancer Summit 2024.”

U.S. Lags Behind Other Countries in Hepatitis-C Treatment
“Despite an arsenal of drugs, many Americans are still unaware of their infections until it’s too late. A Biden initiative languishes without Congressional approval.”

Hepatitis C News Update

‘Doctors told me I’d die before I left school’
“”If you’re lucky, you have about two years. But you probably won’t live long enough to leave school.” Those were the words Mark Ward says he will never forget hearing from a doctor at London’s Royal Free Hospital in 1984 when he was told he had contracted HIV from contaminated blood products, used to treat his haemophilia.”

Substance use disorders are underdiagnosed and undertreated among formerly incarcerated Virginians, VCU-led study finds
“People recently released from prison experience some of the highest rates of substance use disorder, but they are also the least likely to have access to providers who can diagnose and treat their addiction. New research led by Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Population Health is shedding light on the magnitude of these health disparities in Virginia and what policies might help people receive lifesaving care.”

DAA Use Increased After State Medicaid Programs Eased HCV Treatment Restrictions
“Results published in JAMA Health Forum allude to the potential to improve access to curative HCV treatment by further loosening or eliminating such restrictions, supported by evidence of a significant increase in the number of patients treated for HCV across 32 state Medicaid programs that eased or eliminated their coverage restrictions compared to those that maintained restrictions.”

World Liver Day: Prioritizing Viral Hepatitis Screening With Comprehensive Testing
“The primary reason to screen for Hepatitis B and C infection is to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with chronic liver disease and to curtail transmission.”


Facilitated Telemedicine’s Potential for Increasing Access to HCV Treatment with Andrew Talal, MD

Hepatitis C News Update

Deaths From Viral Hepatitis Are on the Rise
“Viral hepatitis is now the second leading infectious cause of death globally after tuberculosis, the World Health Organization’s report reveals. Viral hepatitis testing and treatment coverage rates have stalled despite improved diagnostic and treatment tools and decreasing product prices, according to the report released at the World Hepatitis Summit.”

Gilead Awards US$4 Million Globally (Excluding the United States) Through the Gilead ALL4LIVER Grant
“SINGAPORE, April 15, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Gilead Sciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: GILD), announced a global distribution of US$4 million through its ALL4LIVER Grant (“Grant”) to support community-backed innovative projects associated with hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV), and hepatitis D (HDV) in conjunction with the World Hepatitis Summit (“Summit”).”

Canada Set to Miss WHO Hepatitis C Elimination Goal: Study
“Canada will not reach the original World Health Organization’s (WHO) target of eliminating the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) by 2030 and lags in comparison to other developed countries, a new study led by researchers at the University of Waterloo has found.”

Half of People With Hepatitis Are Scared to Share Their Diagnosis
“Half of Europeans living with hepatitis B (HBV) or hepatitis C (HCV) struggle to share their diagnosis with others due to stigma, according to a multicountry study presented at the World Hepatitis Summit.”


Curing Hepatitis C: The Dr. Raymond Schinazi story (part 2)

Hepatitis C News Update

Hepatitis C cases dropped in the US. Health officials unsure if it’s a blip or trend
“NEW YORK — New U.S. hepatitis C infections dropped slightly in 2022, a surprising improvement after more than a decade of steady increases, federal health officials said Wednesday.”
READ THE REPORT Hepatitis C Surveillance 2022

Telehealth Improves Hepatitis C Treatment in Patients With Opioid Use Disorder
“Facilitated telemedicine integrated into an opioid treatment program led to better hepatitis C virus (HCV) cure rates compared with usual referral-based care, a randomized clinical trial showed. In an intention-to-treat analysis, sustained virologic response (SVR) rates were substantially higher for those who had facilitated telemedicine compared with those referred for usual care (90.3% vs 39.4%), with a nearly threefold higher odds of achieving a cure (OR 2.9, 95% CI 2.0-3.5, P<0.001), Andrew Talal, MD, MPH, of the University at Buffalo, and colleagues reported in JAMA.”

Judge rejects group’s attempt to open safe injection site in Philadelphia
“A federal judge in Philadelphia rejected a nonprofit’s attempt to open a safe drug-injection site in the city. Safehouse, the organization that seeks to provide overdose prevention services, said the threat of prosecution by the Department of Justice over potentially violating drug laws is hindering its religious rights as a group.”

Hepatitis C News Update

B.C. government makes hepatitis C treatment available to all residents
“The B.C. government will now allow anyone living with chronic hepatitis C to access treatment, even in its early stages. “What we hope, of course, is from a health cost perspective that it avoids more serious illness later on,” said B.C. health minister Adrian Dix.”

Hepatitis C Treatment Ruling Adds to State Prison Health Tab
“The state may have to pay millions of dollars more in treatment costs for inmates infected with hepatitis C, following a federal judge’s ruling that said prison officials have been “deliberately indifferent” in caring for thousands of inmates infected with the virus.”

Preventing Mother-to-Child Transmission of Hepatitis C
“Treating hepatitis C virus (HCV) in pregnant women can potentially eliminate maternal HCV during prenatal care and reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission. Previous research shows how plasma levels of sofosbuvir (SOF), a medication in HCV treatment, were 38% higher in pregnant women, while levels of its inactive metabolite (007) were 38% lower than in non-pregnant individuals. Inside cells, SOF is transformed into its active metabolite, 007-triphosphate (007-TP), serving as a measure of drug activation in various tissues and as a marker of medication adherence.”

Hepatitis C News Update

And Then There Was One: HCV Elimination in the Coinfected Population
“The treatment of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) has evolved considerably in the past 15 years. Second-generation direct-acting antivirals entered the market in late 2014. Today we have well-tolerated, short-course (generally 8-12 weeks), pangenotypic options with greater than 95% efficacy to achieve cure or sustained virologic response (SVR). In the World Health Organization’s (WHO) most recent global health sector strategies for 2022 to 2030, it is estimated that the treatment of HCV worldwide increased 10-fold since 2015.”

Insights from patient who cleared hepatitis C could lead to vaccine
“By studying individuals who spontaneously clear hepatitis C infections, a team of researchers has identified viable vaccine targets for a disease that infects 70 million worldwide with case numbers increasing every year.”

Over 30 years, big fall in HIV among people who inject drugs in Baltimore, but hepatitis C remains high
“Despite less injecting drug use, increased use of harm reduction services, and significant progress in reducing HIV infections, there has been a resurgence of hepatitis C among people who inject drugs in recent years in Baltimore, especially among people under the age of 40. This research, tracking changes over the past three decades, was presented by Eshan Patel to the recent Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2024) in Denver.”

State sues El Dorado county over needle exchange bans
“PLACERVILLE, Calif. – As part of an ongoing dispute between some county officials and the Sierra Harm Reduction Coalition, a nonprofit that distributes clean needles, Narcan and offers other services, Placerville’s City Council and the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors both recently passed bans on the operation of needle exchange programs. Following on the heels of the latter of the two bans, passed by City Council in late February, the California Department of Public Health filed a lawsuit against the two governing bodies and their elected officials.”

‘Time for Five’ coalition launches global petition targeting medical test maker Cepheid and parent corporation Danaher
“Washington, DC, 22 March 2024 — Ahead of World Tuberculosis (TB) Day, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) protested alongside other global health activists outside the headquarters of US corporation Danaher, which owns diagnostics maker Cepheid, demanding they drop the price to US$5 for all their ‘GeneXpert’ medical tests that they sell in low- and middle-income countries, for diseases such as tuberculosis (TB), HIV, hepatitis, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and Ebola. Testing is the first step to getting someone who is sick on the treatment they need and preventing further spread of infectious diseases.”

US centers get $2.1M to help hepatitis patients find doctors
“The Center for Disease Analysis (CDA) Foundation has granted $2.1 million in funding to 14 U.S. organizations to help diagnosed but untreated hepatitis B and C patients find doctors. The funds come from the foundation’s Relink grant program, which is supported by an $8-million grant from Gilead Sciences. Gilead markets several hepatitis therapies. The CDA Foundation plans to distribute three more rounds of Relink grants by 2025.”

Weekly News Update.
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