Friday, July 21, 2017

News Recap

1) Vosevi Approved in US – Under Review in Canada
Vosevi has just been approved in the USA to treat adults with chronic HCV genotypes 1-6 without cirrhosis (liver disease) or with mild cirrhosis. Vosevi is a fixed-dose, combination tablet containing sofosbuvir, velpatasvir and a new drug, voxilaprevir. Vosevi is the first treatment approved for patients who have been previously treated with DAAs and failed treatment.  FDA approves Vosevi for Hepatitis C

Vosevi is currently under review in Canada and HepCBC is trying to gather input from the community to submit to the CADTH review board. YOUR HELP IS URGENTLY NEEDED! (Canadians and Non-Canadians Welcome to Participate). Input Needed Before August 15, 2017 Patient Input Is Requested by CADTH on Gilead’s “pan-genotypic” combo of sofosbuvir+velpatasvir+voxilaprevir (brand name “Vosevi”) for re-treatment of patients with hepatitis C, genotypes 1-6.

2) Know Your Status: The Need to Get Tested!
Know Your Status — Get Tested. That’s not only the World Hepatitis Day message from the Canadian Society for International Health, but in Canada it’s the message for those born between 1945 and 1975. Three out of four Canadians who have hepatitis C (HCV) fall within this age bracket. Del Grimstad is one of those, but has successfully treated the virus that mostly attacks the liver, but can also cross the brain barrier. “Which we’ve suspected for many years, but they finally got proof of it,” said Grimstad, a harm reduction worker at AIDS Vancouver Island (AVI) and Vice-President of HepCBC. Know Your Status — Get Tested

A recent article in the Huffington Post reminds us that up to 75 percent of people in the USA who have hepatitis C do not know it, and the stats are basically the same for Canada. The only way to find out is through a simple blood test. People may assume that their doctor tests for it during a routine checkup, but it is not part of a healthy adult’s regular physical exam, nor is it required in Canada because of the screwed up guidelines. Hepatitis C: New Drugs Cure It, but Most People Don’t Know They Have It.

And it’s not just infections that happened in the past but new infections, as for example those acquired in Utah when a nurse diverted drugs and contaminated vials, or from dialysis machines or home tattooing, or piercing or unsterilized dental equipment … or.. or… or….. Hepatitis C outbreak spurs closer monitoring of Utah health professionals.

Also in the news was the fact that about 500,000 Malaysians have Hepatitis C, but most of them are unaware of their infection, and the treatments are WAY TOO EXPENSIVE!! 500,000 Malaysian have hepatitis C — they just don’t know it yet.

3) Research & Discoveries
Last week we spoke about how Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is spread through undercooked or raw pork. HEV infects an estimated 20 million people worldwide each year and kills more than 56,000. It can be deadly in pregnant women and quite dangerous if you already have another hepatitis infection, like HCV or HBV. In the news this week was an article about an easier, cost effective ‘oral fluid’ test that uses saliva to diagnose HEV and may eventually help develop its treatment. New, cost effective saliva test that diagnoses liver disease.

Also in the news was a story about a new way to engineer liver tissue, by organizing tiny subunits that contain three types of cells embedded into a biodegradable tissue scaffold. This is one way to overcome the extreme shortage of livers needed for transplants. Engineered liver tissue expands after transplant.

Even better is a story about a breakthrough that may allow researchers to develop a hepatitis C vaccine more quickly. New animal models for hepatitis C could pave the way for a vaccine.

Advancing Disease
It is so important to get tested before it’s too late because even though we have cures, people treated for HCV when they have advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis remain at high risk of liver cancer, liver failure, liver transplantation or death. Consistent medical monitoring is recommended. High Risk of Complications Post–Hep C Cure for Those with Advanced Liver Damage.

Since the mid-1980s, death rates from liver cancer have doubled. In the USA, an estimated 41,000 new cases and 29,000 liver-cancer deaths are expected in 2017, and only 1 in 5 patients survive after being diagnosed with liver cancer. Liver cancer is spreading with deadly intent.

But there is some good news out there:  For a long time, patients with intermediate-stage liver cancer, where the tumour is too large to be removed with surgery, had no clear data on which treatment worked best. Well, a recent study has shown that doctors were able to shrink the tumours using radiation, such that surgery or transplant became viable options. Liver cancer study gives doctors and patients more info on treatment options.

World Hepatitis Day Events in Victoria BC:

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World Hepatitis Day Events in Province-Wide in BC: