Nav: Home

Anti-hepatitis medicine surprises

December 05, 2019

Hepatitis C is a serious disease, but the biggest threat to someone's health is not the virus itself. Rather, it is the diseases that can result from it such as reduced liver functioning, scar tissue in the liver and potentially cirrhosis. A new study shows that the antiviral treatment which has been used to fight the disease over the last five years, also helps improve the complications which follow.

"It's really good news, because the treatment is effective on almost all patients with hepatitis C, but the fact that it also works against complications is new to us. And this is absolutely crucial for this group of patients, because they don't die from the hepatitis C virus, but in worst case scenarios, from the diseases that chronic liver damage can lead to," says Tea Lund Laursen, PhD student at the Department of Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University.

The results have just been published in the scientific journal Journal of Viral Hepatitis.

Less scar tissue and improved cognitive function

It can often take 20-30 years from being infected with hepatitis C until a person experiences the symptoms. During that period the liver inflammation becomes chronic for the majority of patients and serious damage develops.

"With the study, we now know that even though the patients discover the disease late, the new treatment gives them good chances of a more positive prognosis. Simply because the liver is on the mend when they become free of the virus," says Tea Lund Laursen.

The researchers followed 71 patients with chronic liver inflammation before, during and after treatment. The studies showed that the inflammation in their liver diminished, that there was less scar tissue, and that the liver improved its ability to break down various substances. At the same time, the researchers could measure that the patients reacted quicker to sounds than before they began the treatment.

"Chronic liver inflammation can also lead to cognitive problems where patients become tired, have poorer memory and also reduced response times. But we could also see an improvement in reaction times one year after the 12 week course of treatment. We therefore expect this to also be the case for the other cognitive functions," says Tea Lund Laursen.

Major perspectives in antiviral treatment

The Danish Health and Medicines Authority estimates that approx. 17,000 people are infected with hepatitis C in Denmark and that around half of them are not known in the healthcare system. The vast majority have been infected by sharing syringes. They include both former and current drug abusers and people who demonstrated high-risk behaviour in their youth 30-40 years ago - with many of them unaware that they are infected.

"If the people in the risk category contacted the healthcare system, we would be able to save or improve the lives of a great many people, and also more or less eradicate hepatitis C in Denmark in the long term," says Tea Lund Laursen.

While the number of people with the infection is relatively limited in Denmark, hepatitis C is a major problem globally with approx. 160 million people infected. The disease is particularly widespread in several West African countries, Russia and Greenland.

The research results - more information
  • Type of study: Prospective treatment cohort study

  • Partners: Medical departments in the Central Denmark Region and at Aalborg University Hospital

  • The study is not externally funded.

  • The scientific article "Time?dependent improvement of liver inflammation, fibrosis and metabolic liver function after successful direct?acting antiviral therapy of chronic hepatitis C" has been published in the Journal of Viral Hepatitis.
-end-


Aarhus University

Related Hepatitis Articles:

Liver cancer: Awareness of hepatitis D must be raised
Scientists from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) have studied the most serious consequence of chronic hepatitis: hepatocellular carcinoma.
Hepatitis B: New therapeutic approach may help to cure chronic hepatitis B infection
Researchers at Helmholtz Zentrum München, Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) have developed a novel therapeutic approach to cure chronic hepatitis B.
Anti-hepatitis medicine surprises
A new effective treatment of hepatitis C not only combats the virus, but is also effective against potentially fatal complications such as reduced liver functioning and cirrhosis.
Nanotechnology delivers hepatitis B vaccine
X-ray imaging shows that nanostructured silica acts as a protective vehicle to deliver intact antigen to the intestine so that it can trigger an immune response.
Checkmate for hepatitis B viruses in the liver
Researchers at Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technical University of Munich, working in collaboration with researchers at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf and the University Hospital Heidelberg, have for the first time succeeded in conquering a chronic infection with the hepatitis B virus in a mouse model.
How common is Hepatitis C infection in each US state?
Hepatitis C virus infection is a major cause of illness and death in the United States and injection drug use is likely fueling many new cases.
New strains of hepatitis C found in Africa
The largest population study of hepatitis C in Africa has found three new strains of the virus circulating in the general population in sub-Saharan Africa.
High stability of the hepatitis B virus
At room temperature, hepatitis B viruses (HBV) remain contagious for several weeks and they are even able to withstand temperatures of four degrees centigrade over the span of nine months.
Findings could lead to treatment of hepatitis B
Researchers have gained new insights into the virus that causes hepatitis B -- a life-threatening and incurable infection that afflicts more than 250 million people worldwide.
How to cure more hepatitis C patients
The cost of cures for hepatitis C have been prohibitive, but experts who served on an NAS panel have a solution that will save more patients and incentivize drug innovation.
More Hepatitis News and Hepatitis Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Meditations on Loneliness
Original broadcast date: April 24, 2020. We're a social species now living in isolation. But loneliness was a problem well before this era of social distancing. This hour, TED speakers explore how we can live and make peace with loneliness. Guests on the show include author and illustrator Jonny Sun, psychologist Susan Pinker, architect Grace Kim, and writer Suleika Jaouad.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#565 The Great Wide Indoors
We're all spending a bit more time indoors this summer than we probably figured. But did you ever stop to think about why the places we live and work as designed the way they are? And how they could be designed better? We're talking with Emily Anthes about her new book "The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of how Buildings Shape our Behavior, Health and Happiness".
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Third. A TED Talk.
Jad gives a TED talk about his life as a journalist and how Radiolab has evolved over the years. Here's how TED described it:How do you end a story? Host of Radiolab Jad Abumrad tells how his search for an answer led him home to the mountains of Tennessee, where he met an unexpected teacher: Dolly Parton.Jad Nicholas Abumrad is a Lebanese-American radio host, composer and producer. He is the founder of the syndicated public radio program Radiolab, which is broadcast on over 600 radio stations nationwide and is downloaded more than 120 million times a year as a podcast. He also created More Perfect, a podcast that tells the stories behind the Supreme Court's most famous decisions. And most recently, Dolly Parton's America, a nine-episode podcast exploring the life and times of the iconic country music star. Abumrad has received three Peabody Awards and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2011.