Hepatitis C is an infectious disease affecting primarily the liver, caused by the hepatitis C virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other national health care organizations have called for general screening for the virus, since new medications that have been discovered that can treat and even cure the infection.
But a new study claims that such general screenings may be should not come too soon. Some scientists are skeptical warn that enthusiasm for new treatments that have yet to show improvement in hepatitis C patients on a long term should be kept at a minimum.
The inflammation of the liver associated with hepatitis C may be caused by toxins, drugs, diseases, heavy alcohol use, and even viral and bacterial infections. A common way of hepatitis C contamination is through the infection with HCV, or Hepatitis C virus, which happens through contact with the blood of an already ill person.
The resulting disease may be as light as a few weeks lasting infection, or as heavy as a lifelong illness that can ultimately attack the liver, which in turn causes cirrhosis, liver cancer, and can possibly be life-ending.
The new drugs for the treatment of hepatitis C have shown never before seen success rates, as a result the Food and Drug Administration approved them in 2012. Because the CDC estimates that three quarters of infected people are Baby Boomers, from that date on, the organization started advising people born between 1945 and 1965 to start their hep C screenings.
A new drug was released on the market, Sovati, which many claimed to save lives. This new treatment showed a staggering 90 percent success rates, compared with 65 to 75 percent of previously used drugs. The Sovati treatment, which can cost up to $100,000 was approved by the FDA in 2013.
Authors of an analysis published in the British Medical Journal claim that although 2.7 million American people have hepatitis C and each year around 16,000 die of have liver transplants due to the disease, people should be precautions when using hepatitis C treatments because long term harms associated to antivirals can occur. It is therefore unwise, they say, to continue widespread testing and rather continue the further examination of data.
Image Source: International Business Times