Starting fresh from a two day training session in Victoria I awoke at 4 am in order to be at the airport at 5 am for a 6 am flight to Calgary, arrived at 8:40 am (local) and left by bus to Banff around 10 am. Arrival in Banff coincided with the start of my first meeting with Action Hepatitis Canada (AHC).
The meeting was great and a lot was accomplished by the wrap-up for the day around 8:30 pm. AHC had a lot on their plate for the event, starting with a well-attended breakfast for researchers and doctors there for the HCV symposium (6th Canadian Symposium on Hepatitis C Virus) and an information table in the conference room as well our poster on display in the poster room as part of the closing events of the symposium.
The morning lectures and information displays tend to be very technical and clinical in language, but I have had some exposure and think I understood about 30% – the important things I remember are mostly all good news:
- Pangenotypic direct acting antivirals are a fact and are becoming available.
- There is a lot of noise about the liver cancer rates not falling after successful treatment for HCV, but it sounds like they have identified the issue and are close to fixing that piece too.
So the overall impression of the morning was positive and hopeful. Coupled with the recent drug deals and loosening of the treatment restrictions in BC and Ontario this was a very uplifting process.
The afternoon was filled with a variety of great subjects – from HCV in the indigenous population in Canada to how Australia has been dealing with HCV (great story) and achieving access for all. The world of viral hepatitis is changing quickly and succinctly as the current levels of side-effect free treatment and better access lends hope to the eradication of this scourge we know as the dragon.
There is still a long way to go and a lot of stigma and discrimination to deal with but it is promising!