Presently, the treatment for hepatitis C, which is a liver disease, is a combination of an antiviral agent and another drug. Unfortunately, this type of treatment has a negative result. The side effect is very unpleasant for many people who are on this type of care. Because of this situation, patients are known to discontinue with their treatments.
The other negative fact regarding this drug is that even though patients who don’t get these disturbing side effects, there seems to be no indication that there is any improvement in the function of the liver for these people.
There is good news on the horizon, however. As reported in the U.S. News and World Report, Robert Lanford and his colleagues who are virologists from San Antonio, Texas, experimented with some chimpanzees who had been infected with hepatitis C. They injected these animals intravenously with what is known as SPC3649. The results were amazingly promising because it showed from the test that hepatitis C had been suppressed.
This was good news for me when I first heard about the results of this test because I knew of someone who had hepatitis C. This girl was a student of mine who had contacted this disease. I first realized that something was wrong with her one day, when I noticed that her face and the whites of her eyes were yellow. I didn’t know the cause of this unusual coloring, but I told her mother that she should take her daughter to the doctor. Later, I found out from this mother that her daughter had hepatitis C. Many teenagers get this disease through sexual intercourse which was believed to be the reason for this girl’s problem.
I later found out that this type of hepatitis could lead to cirrhosis of the liver which eventually could lead to the dreaded disease–cancer. I felt very concerned for this young girl and her parents. For their sake and for others who have this disease, I hope that this new experimental drug can soon be on the market.
The good news about this new drug, SPC3649, is that when it was first tested, it showed no toxic side effects. The other good news regarding the testing of this drug is that it showed no evidence that Hepatitis C was being resistant to it. This is extremely good news because in the past, scientists have had problems with other drugs because these drugs allowed Hepatitis C to progress into further disaster. The other encouraging news about SPC3649 is that when treatment had stopped, it continued to be effective.
It is estimated that approximately 170 million people in the world have hepatitis C. It is also estimated that four million Americans are living with hepatitis C infection.
The results of this research is so promising that microbiologists are excited about what this new drug will lead to in the future.
Source: U.S. News and World Report and personal experience