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Dublin: 7 °C Friday 15 November, 2019
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Hepatitis C could become rare disease in twenty two years

New research says screening and new drugs could almost eliminate the condition.

Image: injection via shutterstock

A NEW STUDY has predicted that hepatitis C could be a rare condition by the year 2036.

This comes as part of a computer simulation carried out by The University of Texas and The University of Pittsburgh. The projection is based on the implementation of effective screenings and the use of new drugs.

Using a mathematical model and including the results of over 30 clinical trials, the research was able to predict the impact that new treatments would have. The study used the model to predict disease trends over the first half of the twenty first century, using historical data to validate the results.

It was found that by 2036, hepatitis C would affect only one in 1,500 in the United States.

In the United States, hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver cancer and accounts for more than 15,000 deaths a year. In the US, screening on the blood supply began in 1992. On account of this, those born between 1945 and 1965 are more at risk of having the disease and account for 75% of cases.

On the results of the study, corresponding author Jagpreet Chhatwal, PhD said:

“If we can improve access to treatment and incorporate more aggressive screening guidelines, we can reduce the number of chronic hepatitis cases cases, prevent more cases of liver cancer and reduce liver-related deaths.”

Hepatitis is know for being a ‘hidden’ disease. It is thought that up to 50,000 people in Ireland could be affected.

Last month, Dublin based charity CThis pushed a campaign to encourage people to get tested for hepatitis C. There was an emphasis placed on people having the disease and being unaware of it.

As part of the campaign the charity drove a two-metre tall green letter ‘C’ around Dublin. This was intended to “symbolise the magnitude of hepatitis C.”

Hepatitis is most commonly spread through the sharing of needles when using illegal drugs. It is also possible to contract the disease through contaminated medical equipment as well as tattoo and body piercing.

Related: Thousands of Irish could have this ‘hidden’ disease and not know it

Also: Tracing The Blood Line: Here’s what happens to your blood after you donate

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