"I didn’t feel anything in my body, but my heart! I’ve got hepatitis, oh my God, what about my kids, because my youngest one is just 5 years old."
Jhuvi, a 39-year-old Malaysian businesswoman and mother of five children, learned that she had hepatitis C after donating blood. She believes that she contracted the disease when she got a tattoo while on vacation.
Jhuvi is now benefiting from treatment provided by the Malaysian Ministry of Health, thanks to the government’s landmark decision to issue a “government use” licence to secure access to affordable treatment for hepatitis C.
Direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) have revolutionized the therapeutic landscape. With cure rates of 95%, these 8-to-12-week oral treatments have replaced less effective, injection-based 48-week regimens associated with side effects.
However, their price is a major barrier to access, even in high-income countries, so treatment rationing is common. Prices are also too high for countries to implement strategies that seek to identify asymptomatic people living with HCV, and “test-and-treat” strategies that could lead towards elimination.
A simple (i.e. that works for all patients, including those who are also living with HIV or inject drugs), pan-genotypic (i.e. effective for all genotypes), and affordable treatment would benefit many, particularly in countries unable to access generic HCV treatments.
Together with Egyptian manufacturer Pharco, DND
- Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is transmitted through exposure to infected blood
- 55-85% of patients develop chronic infection, and of these, 15-30% are at risk of cirrhosis of the liver within 20 years
- HCV has six genotypes (GT), with GT1 most prevalent in the US, for example, and GT6 in South-East Asia
- Effective medicines are available, but their extremely high cost means that only 13% of HCV patients globally have had access to treatment
people have chronic HCV infection
people newly infected every year
of people living with HCV are in low- and middle-income countries
HCV-related deaths each year