Professor Ziv Ben-Ari -On Hepetitis C
Liver is one of the most important organs of our body, it has many essential functions and is involved in the purification of the body, in lipid metabolism and the storage of nutrients within the body.
These functions make the liver a vital organ without which the tissues of the body would quickly die from lack of energy and nutrients. Therefore, when the liver is sick - it affects the operation of all of our internal systems.
One of the most common liver diseases is a viral infection called hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. In Israel, two percent of the population are carriers of the hepatitis C virus, among immigrants from the former Soviet Countries, this figure reaches five percent. The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that 130 to 150 million people are infected with chronic hepatitis C virus worldwide. Hepatitis C annually claims the lives of 350 thousand to 500 thousand people.
Professor Ziv Ben-Ari is a leading specialist of diseases of the liver at "Herzliya Medical Center". Her comments about the virus and its modern methods of treatment are as follows:
Who is at risk of Hepatitis C and how do you fight this infection? Those at risk include patients who had a blood transfusion before 1992, since before that time no blood check for hepatitis C was conducted and also people who, for whatever reason, have used or use non-sterile needles.
In 20-30 percent of the infected virus is chronic. It is known that the chronic form of the disease can lead to cirrhosis and / or liver cancer . Early diagnosis is of great importance, it is enough to pass the general blood test to detect abnormalities in liver functionality.
What treatments for hepatitis C are available today?
Until recently, the only treatment plan consisted of a combination of interferon injections with oral ribavirin.
By 2012, there had been developments and two new targeted drugs designed to fight the virus point: Incivo and Victrelis, both of which have been approved since then. This is a group of medicines called "protease inhibitors" that can directly inhibit the viability of the virus and its reproduction. Unfortunately, these drugs are not suitable for everyone, but only to those patients in whom the first genotype appears and who have not taken these drugs.
To date, dozens of drugs are being developed in the form of tablets to be administered in various combinations with each other. These new drugs are suitable for all genotypes and can be assigned for the first time treated patients, and in the case of repeated courses of therapy. New drugs are a type of DAA - Direct Acting Antiviral agents (PDP - antivirals direct action) - that is, they selectively act on the cells of the virus, preventing them from multiplying and interfering with their activity. Second-generation drugs have increased antiviral activity, less likely to cause resistance and are characterized by sufficient security, that is, do not cause side effects.
Should patients with already diagnosed hepatitis C infection, wait until the new drugs reach the market?
The consequences of delayed treatment of hepatitis may be irreversible.
Therefore, I believe that the treatment should start immediately and it is not necessary to wait a year, then to find out that new drugs do not fit. Adopted to date, treatment has positive results in 70% of cases. I hope that the new developments in the coming years will help patients get rid of hepatitis C.