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Hepatitis-C

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hepatitis C - Synonyms and related keywords:
hepatitis C virus, HCV, non-A non-B hepatitis, acute hepatitis, hepatitis, virus infection, viral infection, virus, chronic liver disease, hepatocellular carcinoma, cirrhosis, liver transplant, liver transplantation, orthotopic liver transplantation, OLT, quasispecies, interferon, IFN  
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Assisting Those Infected with Hepatitis C
Glenn G. Griener, PhD, Associate Professor, John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre, University of Alberta

People infected with hepatitis C through tainted blood and opposition politicians have attracted extensive coverage to their criticism of the government's handling of the blood scandal. But surprisingly little attention has been paid to the details of the moral arguments. An analysis of this important social issue should start from our points of agreement. Government programs ought to assist all of those who contracted hepatitis C from the blood system. What form should this assistance take?  
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Freedom to Be Cured: Who is driving the decisions on which groups of patients should be eligible for hepatitis C treatments?
By Alan Franciscus, Executive Director, Hepatitis C Support Project, Editor-in-Chief, HCV Advocate

The following article originally appeared in the September/October 2002 issue of Hepatitis. You can visit their Web site at
www.hepatitismag.com

Is the freedom to make decisions about hepatitis C management and treatment being taken out of the hands of patients in collaboration with their doctors and handed over to the government? more...

AIDS, HCV tests cleared; costs could spiral. - Healthcare Purchasing News, April, 2002

Just as the FDA has approved a highly sensitive test to screen blood donations for the viruses that cause AIDS and hepatitis C, critics are worried about the cost of the new test, which will eventually be made mandatory after the agency writes formal guidelines, The New York limes reports.
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Did shots cause hepatitis C? Officials downplay concerns
When a test was developed three years ago to detect the potentially deadly virus hepatitis C, researchers at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made a disturbing discovery.

They found the genetic fingerprint of the virus in batches of a blood-plasma product that has been used for decades to inoculate U.S. soldiers and other Americans against hepatitis A and B before they travel to Third World nations.

Officials at the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that despite the finding, there is no need to worry about the safety of those inoculations. Even if the virus got into the inoculants, the officials contend, its genes were damaged during the manufacturing process or otherwise neutralized

Some scientists aren't so sure. 
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Historical Data

After the agents for viral hepatitis A and B were identified in the 60s and 70s it was evident that there was a group of hepatitides caused by some other virus which would infect by blood and would be ultrafiltrable. This elusive virus was called " non-A, non-B". It took 20 years to demonstrate its existence by nucleic acid analysis and still in 1996 we cannot see it with electron microscopy The reason is that its concentration in the blood is very low, probably 1-10 virions per ml.

Discovery
It took 5-6 years of work to extract it from infected patients by a group of investigators in California (USA),(Choo et al, Science 244:359-361,1989). The serum was concentrated into a pellet. RNA was extracted from this pellet and its complimentary DNA (cDNA) placed into the genome of E. Coli. Numerous clones of this organism were tested by Enzymatic Immuno Assay technique (EIA) against the serum of patients convalescent of non-A non-B hepatitis until one clone was found producing a small protein that reacted with IgG from the serum of these patients.. The reacting antigen was called c-100 and the infective agent, Hepatitis C Virus (HCV).

Virology
The virus contains a single-stranded genome of RNA with approximately 10,000 nucleotides, a capsid, a matrix and an envelope. It encodes a single polyprotein precursor which is fragmented in 3 structural (C, E1, E2) and in 4-6 non structural proteins (NS1, NS2, NS3, NS4, NS5) forming the following antigens: c100, c22, c33, c300, 5-1-1 Other components are proteases, RNA polymerase and transcriptases, not reverse transcriptase. We don't know the structure of the HCV because the virus has not been seen yet with the electron microscope due to the very scarce concentration of viral particles in the blood and tissues. Probably only 1-10 virions per ml are present in the blood. HCV appears to be similar to flaviviruses which produce only acute illnesses especially in animals, the prototype being yellow fever virus. HCV does not integrate into host DNA like Hepatitis B virus. HCV has very high mutation rate producing many similar species. This variation accounts for resistance to antibodies. 
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Epidemiology of Hepatitis C Viral Infection

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