With more than 180 million people infected worldwide and over 4 million people infected in the United States, the hepatitis C virus accounts for one of the world’s most common blood-borne diseases. Harming the liver, the hepatitis C virus causes chronic liver disease in approximately 75 percent of those diagnosed with it. While hepatitis C can present in acute and chronic forms, symptoms for both types include jaundice, fatigue, dark urine, and nausea.
Doctors can determine the presence of the condition with a blood test. However, because signs of liver disease may not appear for several years, the liver may be irreversibly damaged by the time patients recognize the extent of the problem. To treat the disorder, physicians prescribe interferon and ribavirin together, but only 40-45 per cent of treated individuals achieve eradication of the hepatitis C virus. Cure rates have recently improved with the addition of new anti-viral drugs.
About the Author:
The recipient of a Doctor of Medicine from the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at Rutgers University, Robert Hindes, M.D., has served in research and development roles at several pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Hindes was most recently Vice President of Clinical Development at Pharmasset, Inc., where he was responsible for late stage clinical development of hepatitis C anti-viral drugs.