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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

Thousands of Patients Are at Risk of Exposure to Possible HIV, Hepatitis
“More than 2400 patients are being cautioned about the potential exposure to bloodborne diseases hepatitis B and C, as well as HIV, because of a physician who did not follow infection control practices during some procedures at Portland-area hospitals, including Providence Willamette Falls Medical Center; Providence Portland Medical Center; and Legacy Health Systems Mt. Hood Medical Center, in Gresham.”

First hepatitis C self-test prequalified by WHO
“On 10 July 2024, the World Health Organization (WHO) prequalified the first self-test for hepatitis C. The disease is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) which affects the liver.”

To initiate same-day hepatitis C testing and treatment, hepatitis B status must be known
“The FDA’s recent authorization of a rapid, point-of-care test to diagnose current hepatitis C virus infection is a major victory, but it would be malpractice to initiate same-day HCV treatment if a patient’s hepatitis B virus status is unknown.”

HBV, HCV Screening Disparities Among Low-Income US Veterans
“Findings from a recent study are calling attention to disparities in hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) screening rates among low-income US veterans based on demographic, socioeconomic, and clinical characteristics.”

Harnessing Early Detection for Two Common Cancers
“New research from Moffitt Cancer Center suggests a simple way to potentially boost your chances of catching two common cancers early: getting screened for hepatitis C, which can cause liver cancer, and colorectal cancer simultaneously. This dual screening approach might be especially helpful for those born between 1945 and 1965, a group with a higher risk for both cancers.”

Eliminating Hepatitis C Requires Commitment
“In just 35 years, hepatitis C virus (HCV) has gone from unidentified to a disease targeted for elimination as a public health threat. The Viral Hepatitis National Strategic Plan for the United States: A Roadmap to Elimination’s vision for the country is, “a place where new viral hepatitis infections are prevented, every person knows their status, and every person with viral hepatitis has high-quality health care and treatment and lives free from stigma and discrimination.” This is an admirable and technically possible goal given the availability of cost-effective, well-tolerated, oral treatments that cure more than 95 percent of HCV cases in only eight to 12 weeks; broad testing recommendations; and a clear understanding of how HCV spreads. Nevertheless, the nation is a long way from realizing this vision. Although there have been successes in HCV care and prevention, it will take a strong commitment to treatment and harm reduction to meet national goals.”

Hepatitis C Leaves Lasting “Scars” On the Immune System Even After Treatment
“Led by Director SHIN Eui-Cheol, researchers from the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) Korea Virus Research Institute’s (KVRI) Center for Viral Immunology have provided new insights into the lasting effects of chronic Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection on the immune system, even after the disease has been successfully treated. The research team has discovered that traces of “epigenetic scars” remain in regulatory T cells and exhibit sustained inflammatory properties long after the virus is cleared from the body.”

Screening for Hepatocellular Carcinoma and Survival in Patients With Cirrhosis After Hepatitis C Virus Cure
“These findings suggest that individuals with cirrhosis who have achieved HCV cure should receive recommended HCC screening.”

Organ network to remove race, hepatitis C coefficients for evaluating organ function
“Procurement specialists will no longer use race or hepatitis C to determine organ health. The current formula suggests that donor kidneys from African American or Black patients function for a shorter period.”

Stagnant Progress in Assessing and Addressing HCV Prevalence
“The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) fails to capture the actual prevalence of HCV infection. Researchers developed two models to estimate US adult HCV prevalence from 2017 to 2020. Despite effective treatment availability for years, HCV prevalence stagnated during this period, due to increased injection drug use elevating estimates compared to 2013-2016.”

New York Implements Strategies to Reach Hep C Elimination Goal
“New York state is ramping up efforts to eliminate hepatitis C by 2030 by increasing screening, treatment and more, according to Spectrum News…Knowing your HCV status is the first step toward treatment and a cure. While current guidelines recommend that all adults should be tested for HCV at least once, New York state recently implemented a new testing law requiring universal screening for all adults over 18 and pregnant individuals.”

Hepatitis C News Update

FDA Permits Marketing of First Point-of-Care Hepatitis C RNA Test
“Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted marketing authorization to Cepheid for the Xpert HCV test and GeneXpert Xpress System, the first hepatitis C virus (HCV) test that can be used to bring diagnosis to appropriately certified point-of-care settings for individuals at risk for hepatitis C. The test may be performed in settings operating under a CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments) Certificate of Waiver, such as certain substance use disorder treatment facilities, correctional facilities, syringe service programs, doctor’s offices, emergency departments and urgent care clinics. Rather than requiring a sample to be sent to a central lab for testing, the test detects HCV RNA and delivers results in about an hour using a blood sample from the fingertip.”

Court Mostly Upholds Coverage of PrEP and Preventive Health Care, for Now
“Following a federal appeals court decision it deemed “something of a mixed bag,” most health insurers must continue to cover certain preventive services and their related costs, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV along with screenings for cancer. However, the court ruled against the system that decides which procedures must be covered, declaring that the agency behind the health coverage requirement operates unconstitutionally.”

Concerns after Philly’s new budget slashes funding for syringe exchange programs
“PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Some members of the medical community have serious concerns after Philadelphia’s new budget slashed funding for syringe exchange programs. The CDC warned lack of such programs could eventually cause an outbreak, as detailed in a letter sent last month to Philadelphia physician Ronald Collman. The agency called “syringe service programs,” or SSPs, are a “vital part of basic public health infrastructure,” in that they prevent the spread of diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C. Earlier this month, the city passed a budget that stopped paying for syringe services with tax dollars, specifically about $1 million was cut from Philadelphia nonprofit Prevention Point.”

Integrating HCV screening with breast cancer programs enhances care
“Findings from a recent study suggest incorporating hepatitis C virus (HCV) screening into breast cancer screening programs may offer a viable strategy for improving engagement with the care cascade and linkage to direct-acting antiviral (DAA) treatment among older female patients.”

LA County Calls for Enhanced Efforts on Hepatitis C Testing, Treatments
“The Board of Supervisors directed its Departments of Public Health and Health Services Tuesday to provide Hepatitis C testing to patients in primary care settings, including pregnant women and other people considered at high risk.”

Hepatitis C News Update

Why are Patients Missing Their Initial HCV Treatment Appointments?
“Results of the case-control retrospective chart review showed patients who missed their initial scheduled infectious disease clinic appointment for HCV treatment had greater rates of housing instability, transportation difficulties, and medication non-adherence compared to patients who attended their first treatment appointment.”

Patients who accepted infected kidneys cured of hepatitis C
“NEW YORK (AP) — Some patients in desperate need of a kidney transplant participated in a bold experiment where they received organs infected with hepatitis C. The gamble paid off. Their new organs are working fine thanks to medication that got rid of the virus, researchers reported Monday.”

The Prevalence of Depression and Its Potential Link to Liver Fibrosis in Patients Diagnosed With Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection Prior to the Initiation of Direct-Acting Antiviral Treatment
“Our findings point to a high prevalence of depression in treatment-naive HCV patients. Interestingly, there might be a link between depression severity and the stage of liver fibrosis, with advanced fibrosis potentially associated with more severe depression.”

CBO Report Assesses Budgetary Effects of Potential Policies to Increase Hepatitis C Treatment
“A new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analyzed 2 sample national policies to increase hepatitis C treatment rates among Medicaid enrollees and found that health care savings fueled by increased hepatitis C treatment would more than offset direct spending on treatment. However, outreach would be key to increase testing and treatment and the associated costs would need to be accounted for, and future work to explore longer-term budgetary effects is needed.”

R01 Grant Will Fund Nationwide Study of Opt-Out HIV and Hepatitis C Testing
“Despite the widespread availability of testing for HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection at Syringe Service Programs (SSPs), a minority of people who inject drugs choose to get tested in these settings.”

Grant Supports Research to Identify Barriers to Health Care for Black Women
“A $1.58 million grant will support work by a health communication scholar at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Nursing and a medical oncologist at West Cancer Center and Research Institute (WCCRI) to identify sociocultural and structural factors that are root causes of cancer health disparities for Black women in the Mid-South.”

Antiviral medications that treat hepatitis C improve long-term outcomes
“The antiviral medications used to treat hepatitis C have a cure rate of 90% — or higher. The success of these medications has also led to new questions: Do cured patients have the same risk of liver disease as those who were never infected? And does everyone who is cured still need routine screening for liver cancer? A new study led by Kaiser Permanente researchers published in Gastro Hep Advances provides some answers.”

Hepatitis C News Update

A Call for New Research in the Area of Hepatitis C
“The Congressional Budget Office regularly provides information to the Congress about the effects on the federal budget of policies related to preventive medical care. Today the agency released a report providing background about hepatitis C treatment and the budgetary effects of illustrative increases in such treatment among Medicaid beneficiaries. In addition to the report published today, further analysis is needed to determine the effects of proposed federal policies, such as a national treatment program, on both the extent of hepatitis C treatment and the federal budget. Policies could include efforts to expand outreach to identify people who have hepatitis C, such as improving the technology and scale of screening.”

Budgetary Effects of Policies That Would Increase Hepatitis C Treatment
“CBO describes its initial analysis of the potential federal budgetary effects of policies that would increase treatment of hepatitis C, focusing on two sample national policies that would increase treatment rates among Medicaid enrollees.”

Washington aims to eradicate hepatitis C, and screening matters
“When it comes to hepatitis C, we have made incredible scientific advances over the years. Hepatitis C is a viral infection causing liver inflammation and it can lead to serious liver damage and long-term illness. Because hepatitis C virus can reside in the body for many decades, often without causing symptoms until irreparable damage has occurred to the liver, many of the patients carrying this virus are unaware. But there’s a simple screening to tell if you have it and the goal is to test and treat before symptoms arise.”

ASHwell launches mobile clinic to bring HIV and Hep C care to Texas communities
“AUSTIN, Texas — This week, ASHwell, an Austin community clinic, unveiled its first-ever mobile unit at the Pride on the East Side event. This clinic on wheels will provide crucial HIV and Hepatitis C testing and treatment, including on-site medication such as the HIV prevention medication PrEP.”

Hepatitis C: Addressing the ‘Silent Syndemic’ and Improving Access to Care
“Hepatitis C has been called the “silent syndemic” because many people with the disease are unaware of their infection, explained Lindsey P. Sheehan, PharmD, MPA, MBA, a PGY2 pharmacy resident – specialty pharmacy administration and leadership, University of Kentucky HealthCare, during a presentation at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Pharmacy Futures 2024 in Portland, Oregon. “We call it the ‘silent syndemic’ really because, in a lot of places across the United States, hepatitis C was a huge area of focus for the baby boomer generation,” Sheehan said. “As more of those patients were identified and treated, in a lot of people’s minds, hepatitis C became less and less of a problem and went away. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.””

Finding Peace Of Mind After Addiction – Why It’s So Important To Get Tested For Hepatitis C
“One of the most common risks for people navigating addiction is contracting Hepatitis C (Hep C). Our series, Turning Points, is dedicated to giving former addicts and their partners a platform to share their recovery journeys. As part of the series, we also wanted to share valuable insights and resources about what it means to get your life back on track during the recovery process; one point being, getting tested for Hep C.”

Health Department launches Hepatitis C Treatment Program
“CENTRAL MICHIGAN — The Central Michigan District Health Department announced the launch of a new hepatitis C treatment program aimed at providing accessible and effective treatment to individuals in the community.”

“As a child growing up in Nigeria, Johns Hopkins physician Seun Falade-Nwulia felt distressed by the plight of female children and women in her society. “Over and over again, I could see how girls and mothers had so little power. There were so few expectations of what they could achieve or what they were expected to contribute,” says the associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “That has always stayed with me. I’ve always been drawn to those who are marginalized.””

Hepatitis Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Johnson, Velázquez Urge CMS To Improve Hep B Vaccine Access
“WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) and Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07), co-chairs of the Hepatitis Caucus, sent a letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services urging them to expand access for seniors to the hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination. The letter, addressed directly to CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, stated: “CMS has the authority through this rulemaking to expand the mass immunizer program to include all current and future Part B preventive vaccines, and specifically, alleviate long-standing barriers to hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination. We believe Medicare seniors and the disabled with intermediate to high risk factors for HBV would benefit from receiving HBV vaccines in mass immunizer sites, such as pharmacies, without the physician order requirement.””

Facilitated Telemedicine Soars in Treating Hepatitis C among Opioid Users
“Facilitated telemedicine has emerged as a key player in the fight against hepatitis C virus (HCV) by effectively bridging geographical and temporal barriers. The study, a prospective, cluster-randomized clinical trial conducted across twelve opioid treatment programs in New York State, sheds light on the potential of this innovative approach.”

HIV, HCV Testing Rates Suboptimal in Hospitalized Patients Who Use Drugs
“Patients who use drugs need more opportunities for HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) testing, as testing rates for these conditions during inpatient encounters are suboptimal among this population. These study results were published in Open Forum Infectious Diseases.”

San Quentin delays and denies hepatitis C care to affected incarcerated people
“Luis Edward Gama arrived at California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi in 2016. While being processed, he tested positive for hepatitis C, but because he had 15 months left on his sentence, California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS) denied his treatment.”

Hepatitis C News Update

ACLU of Colorado files lawsuit against Pueblo’s ban on needle exchange programs
“PUEBLO, Colo. — The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Colorado has filed a lawsuit against the City of Pueblo, seeking to halt enforcement of the city’s ban on needle exchange programs.”

SYNC2024 Viral Hepatitis Policy and Syndemic Approaches
“In our first update from SYNC2024, Director Miguel Gomez discusses viral hepatitis with his OIDP colleagues Jessica Deerin and Darcy …”

Two SAMHSA Minority AIDS Initiative Funding Opportunities Support Integration of Infectious Disease Services in Substance Use Disorder Prevention and Treatment
“The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently issued two funding opportunities supported by the Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI). In one, SAMHSA is seeking applications for $5.7 million to support substance use prevention and treatment services that adopt a syndemic approach for racial and ethnic minority individuals at risk for or living with HIV. In the other, SAMHSA announced the availability of $2.6 million to expand the number of programs delivering integrated, primary care, behavioral health, infectious disease, and harm reduction services to people experiencing unsheltered homelessness using a portable clinical care approach.”

Armored CAR-T Therapy Shows Promise for Liver Cancer
“A next-generation armored CAR-T therapy called C-CAR031 led to regression of liver tumors in more than half of patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma, rising to 75% for those who received the highest dose, according to study results presented Tuesday at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting (ASCO 2024).”

Francis Collins’s New Project: Eliminate Hepatitis C
“The Christian doctor and researcher sees a “moral imperative” in destroying a curable fatal illness. Other countries are on track to erase it, but not the United States.”

Hepatitis C News Update

State-Specific Hepatitis C Virus Clearance Cascades — United States, 2013–2022
“These are the first state-level estimates using CDC guidance and data from a large commercial laboratory with national coverage to generate HCV clearance cascades. These estimates reveal substantial gaps in hepatitis C diagnosis, treatment, and prevention and can help guide prioritization of activities and resources to achieve hepatitis C elimination goals.”

Maine CDC Encourages Steps to Protect Your Health from Hepatitis C
“AUGUSTA– As Hepatitis Awareness Month in May concludes this week, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) is encouraging Maine people to take steps to protect their health from these viral illnesses. The Maine CDC is highlighting new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) screening requirements for hepatitis C. The U.S. CDC now recommends that every adult get tested for hepatitis C at least once in their lifetime, pregnant people get tested during each pregnancy, and everyone with ongoing risk factors get tested regularly. Additionally, infants exposed to hepatitis C during pregnancy and childbirth should be tested for hepatitis C between 2–6 months of age and monitored by a health care provider with hepatitis C expertise until they are eligible to receive treatment at 3 years of age.”

Access to Direct-Acting Antivirals for HCV Improved With Relaxed Medicaid Restrictions
“The use of direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection increased after state Medicaid programs eased coverage restrictions, according to study results published in JAMA Network Open.”

Graves County highlighted in new NACo report on harm reduction
“The National Association of Counties (NACo) has published a vital resource titled “Five Questions for Counties Considering Harm Reduction as an Opioid Abatement Strategy,” which provides a comprehensive overview of various harm reduction initiatives implemented by counties across the United States.”

A Homer needle exchange offers safer supplies for rural Alaskans and a bridge to recovery
“In the backroom of a Homer office building on a recent Tuesday, long tables held a buffet of supplies like sterile water, tourniquets, fentanyl test strips and sharps containers. The supplies are part of a bimonthly syringe exchange.  Rhonda, who didn’t want to give her last name, walked in and got a big hug from one of the volunteers.  She called the exchange a “safe place” and comes regularly for supplies. “People are not judgmental, and they’re just doing it as a service to help people,” Rhonda said. “It could save your life, potentially. Clean supplies are a lot better than dirty ones. Trust me. I know.””

Effectiveness of test-and-treat model with direct-acting antiviral for hepatitis C virus infection in migrants: a prospective interventional study in Italy
“This model of HCV screening and linkage to care seems effective to eliminate HCV infection in a difficult-to-reach and to-treat population, such as undocumented migrants and low-income refugees. The participation of cultural mediators in the study made possible a better interaction between migrants and physicians, as is evident from the large number of subjects enrolled. Eliminating HCV among migrants will have a long-term positive impact from a public health and healthcare perspective by reducing the number of individuals who potentially develop HCV-related complications such as liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma and reducing the circulation of HCV in the regions that host them which often, as in the case of Italy, are low endemic for HCV infection.”

Washington State Plans Reentry Demonstration Initiative
“State’s Health Care Authority receives authorization to distribute up to $303 million in capacity-building funding to eligible carceral facilities.”

Hepatitis C News Update

A push to overturn a city council ordinance banning needle exchange programs in Pueblo
“PUEBLO, Colo. — Earlier this month, Pueblo City Council passed an ordinance to ban needle exchange programs in Pueblo. According to the city, voters have filed a referendum and petition to reverse this decision.”

Hepatitis C Telemedicine Integrated Into Opioid Treatment Shows Promise
“Integrating facilitated telemedicine for hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment into existing opioid treatment programs (OTPs) can lead to significant benefits, including higher cure rates, decreased drug use and fewer reinfections compared with therapy involving off-site referrals.”

A comparative study of different antiviral treatment protocols in HCV related cryoglobulinemic vasculitis
“The treatment of HCV and its sequelae are used to be predominantly based on Interferon (IFN). However, this was associated with significant adverse events as a result of its immunostimulant capabilities. Since their introduction, the directly acting antiviral drugs (DAAs), have become the standard of care to treat of HCV and its complications including mixed cryoglobulinemic vasculitis (MCV). In spite of achieving sustained viral response (SVR), there appeared many reports describing unwelcome complications such as hepatocellular and hematological malignancies as well as relapses.”

Atea Pharmaceuticals Presents New Data Showcasing Potential Best-in-Class Combination Profile of Bemnifosbuvir and Ruzasvir for Treatment of Hepatitis C Virus at EASL Congress 2024
“Presentations to Include New Antiviral Efficacy Results, Including SVR12 Data, from Lead-In Cohort of Ongoing Phase 2 HCV Trial. Data Also Highlight the High Prevalence of Pre-Existing NS5A Resistance-Associated Substitutions (RAS) Detected in HCV-infected Patients.”

The Means for Curative Hepatitis C Care are Available, But Many Still Don’t Utilize
“A newer strategic approach combined with existing treatments are together trying to reduce incidence rates and cure people of HCV, but barriers to treatment remain, and often leave people outside the continuum of care.”

Hepatitis C: thousands of people are undiagnosed – here’s what you need to know about the virus
‘Demand for hepatitis C tests has surged in the UK following the publication of the infected blood inquiry findings in May 2024. According to the BBC, “1,750 people in the UK are living with an undiagnosed hepatitis C infection after being given a transfusion with contaminated blood.” Globally, there are thousands more unknowingly living with virus.”

Why the U.S. Is Falling Behind Other Countries in Hepatitis C Treatment
“The United States currently trails several countries that are on track to eliminate hepatitis C virus (HCV) within the next decade, according to The New York Times. Fifteen countries including Egypt, Canada and Australia expect to eliminate HCV during this decade thanks to advances in HCV screening and treatment. Despite similar advancements in the United States, HCV cases remain high.”

Hepatitis C News Update

A Proclamation on National Hepatitis Testing Day, 2024
The White House – “Millions of Americans have viral hepatitis, an infection of the liver that can be cured or managed with the right treatment, but every year, it takes the lives of thousands of Americans who for too long did not realize that they were sick.  Testing saves lives.  On National Hepatitis Testing Day, we encourage folks everywhere to help spread the word and get tested, and we commit to continuing our work to get every American the high-quality health care they need to live long, healthy lives.”

The Application of Australian Rights Protections to the Use of Hepatitis C Notification Data to Engage People ‘Lost to Follow Up’
“Hepatitis C is a global public health threat, affecting 56 million people worldwide. The World Health Organization has committed to eliminating hepatitis C by 2030. Although new treatments have revolutionised the treatment and care of people with hepatitis C, treatment uptake has slowed in recent years, drawing attention to the need for innovative approaches to reach elimination targets. One approach involves using existing notifiable disease data to contact people previously diagnosed with hepatitis C. Within these disease surveillance systems, however, competing tensions exist, including protecting individual rights to privacy and autonomy, and broader public health goals.”

The best way to celebrate Hepatitis Awareness Month is to protect yourself
“Most people know HIV, chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea are sexually transmitted infections, but did you know hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses can also be transmitted through sex? During Hepatitis Awareness Month in May, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health is urging everyone to get the facts about hepatitis B and hepatitis C.”

Hepatitis Awareness Month: Exploring the Latest Breakthroughs in Hepatitis
“Hepatitis awareness remains essential to promote prevention and early detection, ensuring access to vaccination and treatment, and improving public health.”

Hepatitis C Infection Poses Global Public Health Threat to Reproductive-Age Women
“HealthDay News — Both acute hepatitis C (AHC) and hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related cirrhosis incidence were up substantially globally from 1990 to 2019 in reproductive-aged women, according to a study published online April 19 in the Journal of Global Health.”

Study Suggests Need for More HCV Treatment Delivery in Primary Care Settings
“Primary care providers (PCP) are encouraged to provide hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment to infected patients to improve service delivery and alleviate the burden placed on specialists, but findings from a recent study suggest treatment has been on the decline in recent years among both PCPs and specialists.”

Lysyl oxidase-like 2 (LOXL2) Emerges as a Predictor of Liver Cancer Risk in HCV Patients After Successful Treatment
“LOXL2 connects collagen fibers outside of cells and reflects changes in liver fibrosis. Serum LOXL2 levels were found to anticipate the onset of HCC following SVR in HCV-infected patients. Combining LOXL2 levels with alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) levels improves the accuracy of assessing the risk of HCC development after SVR. This implies that monitoring LOXL2 and AFP levels could aid in identifying patients at a higher risk of liver cancer, facilitating an enhanced surveillance strategy for early detection.”

Identification of two novel subtypes of hepatitis C virus genotype 8 and a potential new genotype successfully treated with direct acting antivirals
“Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has a high genetic diversity and is classified into 8 genotypes and over 90 subtypes with some endemic to specific world regions. This could compromise direct-acting antiviral (DAA) efficacy and global HCV elimination.”

Thousands in New Mexico could benefit from free Hepatitis C testing
“State health officials are encouraging all New Mexico adults to get free diagnostic testing for Hepatitis C in order to prevent it from spreading.”

HCV Tops HBV as Leading Cause of Cirrhosis, Global Burden Projected to Increase
“Despite a global downward trend in the age-standardized rate of liver cirrhosis from 1990 – 2019, a recent study found the number of cases continued to rise during this time period, with hepatitis C virus (HCV) replacing hepatitis B virus (HBV) as the leading cause of cirrhosis worldwide.”

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.”

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