Canadians suffering with Hepatitis C have new hope that they can get the medications they need. Currently there are over 300 000 people in Canada who have been diagnosed with the disease. There is medication available that will cure the disease, but only if they or their provincial health insurance will cough up the hefty amount needed. A 24 week course of the medication which produces little or no side effects and can eradicate the virus from the liver may cost up to $80 000 Cdn. This would be for about 24 pills.
People who have some liver disease, but it isn’t at the stage to cause immediate failure cannot obtain the medication through their publicly supported health care system. Some people may obtain treatment if their condition is dire enough.
While the medication marketed under the name Sovaldi is hugely expensive some countries reject the pharmaceutical company’s patent. Now an organization, Drugs for Neglected Diseases, has entered into an agreement with an Egyptian company to produce the drug. The course of treatment is predicted to be about $300 Cdn.
Egypt is one of the countries hardest hit with the viral disease with approximately six million cases. Worldwide, there are about 140 million people with the disease. It kills about half a million people each year.
To begin with, the drug will be sold in Malaysia and Thailand. Sufferers of Hepatitis C are hoping that the sales will begin in Canada as well.
Hepatitis C is the leading reason for liver transplants in both the US and Canada. It has been described as a silent disease in that symptoms don’t usually appear until the liver begins to fail. There are numerous ways that a person may be exposed to this virus. Some of the routes follow:
Center for Disease Control
A British nurse, Pauline Cafferkey, is fighting for her life in a London hospital. She had volunteered to work during the Ebola virus crisis last year. She served with the Save the Children hospital in Sierra Leone.
Upon deplaning in Heathrow in late December, she reported not feeling well, but was cleared to continue to Glasgow. Shortly afterwards she became acutely ill and was transferred to a London hospital equipped to deal with EVDs. She made a recovery from the infection and was discharged from the hospital in late February. She then went about her business.
On October 9th she was again in a London hospital fighting for her life. Her last reported condition is critical.
Jonathan Ball, professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham, said the news was “frankly staggering.” The Independent
She is the first person to be diagnosed with a life threatening resurgence of the disease.
Previously some of the survivors had health complications that included rashes, infections and eye problems. There is growing evidence that the virus may remain in the body for months after fighting off the disease. The eye and central nervous system as well as testes and pregnant uteri are suspected capable of harbouring it.
There have been studies undertaken to discover whether the disease might be present in semen. It is. It has been present as long as nine months after the initial infection. Now it is recommended that recovered men should be issued with condoms and either refrain from sex or practice safe sex until their semen has been tested twice and shown to be EV free.
The danger is not merely theoretical. There has been a confirmed transmission of EVD between a man who recovered and his sexual partner who caught the disease and died. The connection has been confirmed by tracing the genes involved.
There have been 65 people identified as close contacts with nurse Cafferkey. Twenty-five have received the vaccination against the virus. The vaccination has proved effective in West Africa.
Medical News Today
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