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HepC drive aims to find missing patients

Thursday November 22nd, 2018

A drive has been launched in England to find thousands of people infected with hepatitis C so they can be treated with curative drugs and virus transmission stopped.

Public Health England says tens of thousands of patients may not be receiving drug treatment despite past diagnoses of infection with the virus.

It also wants to find thousands of undiagnosed patients thought to have contracted the disease from high-risk behaviour such as the injecting of illegal drugs.

The organisation says its latest analysis shows that at least 90% of patients taking the latest antiviral drugs have been cured.

Clinical scientist Dr Helen Harris said: “This is fantastic news and a step towards eliminating hepatitis as a major public health threat by 2030, as knowing the numbers accessing treatment is vital to tackling this infection.

“We will however continue in our endeavours to find and treat everyone who is living with hepatitis C. If you have been at risk of contracting hepatitis C, particularly through injecting drugs, even if you injected only once or in the past, then I urge you to get tested to see if you would benefit from these new, effective treatments.”

Dr Graham Foster, who is hepatitis C clinical chair for NHS England, said: “This dramatic NHS progress in treating hepatitis C over the past few years is one of the biggest but least acknowledged NHS success stories.

“By investing several hundred million pounds, NHS England has helped transform the lives of thousands of people, and with fair pricing from the drug companies, the NHS has a real prospect of eliminating hepatitis C altogether.”

Tags: Flu & Viruses | Internal Medicine | UK News

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