What's new

Pakistan pilots hepatitis C therapy in bid to wipe out silent epidemic

Dubious

RETIRED MOD
Jul 22, 2012
37,762
80
72,134
Country
Pakistan
Location
Pakistan

Hepatitis C infects as many as seven million people in Pakistan, making it one of the worst affected countries on the planet CREDIT: BEN FARMER

18 MARCH 2019 • 1:59PM


A dramatic drop in the cost of revolutionary new hepatitis drugs could see Pakistan lead the way in stamping out one of the world's most prevalent infectious diseases.

Hepatitis C infects as many as seven million people in Pakistan, making it one of the worst affected countries on the planet.

The virus is responsible for a silent epidemic with most sufferers unaware they are infected until their livers have suffered years of irreversible damage, or they have cancer.

A sharp fall in the cost of powerful new drugs and screening kits now offers the chance to transform the way the infection is treated according to the aid group Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

The charity is running a pilot project in a Karachi slum which aims to use the new low cost drugs to cure people in small grass roots clinics rather than central hospitals.


MSF is running a pilot project in a Karachi slum which aims to use the new low cost drugs to cure people in small grass roots clinics CREDIT: BEN FARMER
“This could be a game changing, not only for public health, but it is a miracle waiting to happen. The day the government begins to put its weight behind it, it will be something which will be a revolution,” said MSF's Dr Hassan Zahid.

Hepatitis C treatment until recently relied on a year-long course of injections that only cured around half of patients and brought on gruelling side effects including depression and suicidal feelings. Different strains of the virus also had to be treated with different drugs.

A new generation of drugs called direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) went on the market earlier this decade transforming the chances of treatment. DAAs could be taken as tablets, most combinations worked on all strains and cured more than 95 per cent of patients in a few months.

But the new DAAs were hugely expensive. When Sofosbuvir, produced by pharmaceutical giant Gilead, became available in late 2013, it cost $1,000 per pill or $84,000 for a full course. The price made it 67 times more expensive gram-for-gram than gold.

It remains hugely expensive in the West, where politicians and organisations including MSF have campaigned for Gilead to either bring prices down or allow other manufacturers to make generic versions. The publicly listed price that the NHS currently pays is nearly £12,000 for a bottle of 24 tablets, though a new deal is understood to be under negotiation.

However in the developing world, where campaigners say drug giants make less money and defend their profit margins less fiercely, prices have tumbled. By using tactics learned in the long battle to make HIV drugs affordable, campaigners have opposed patents, challenged licensing agreements and bought in bulk.

Gilead and other drug companies have cut prices and allowed local manufacturers to make generic versions. MSF can now buy Indian-made treatment for $120 per course in Pakistan and expects the price to go down further.


In Machar Colony, one of Karachi's largest slums, around 150,000 mainly Bengali and Pashtun residents work largely in the fishing industry CREDIT: BEN FARMER
The MSF project is in Machar Colony, one of Karachi's largest slums where around 150,000 mainly Bengali and Pashtun residents work largely in the fishing industry. If hepatitis C can be effectively treated in a small clinic here, then it shows it can be treated in a similar fashion almost anywhere, MSF argues.

Those who believe they have the disease, known locally as black jaundice, which has symptoms including tiredness, joint pain and nausea come in and are screened. New portable genetic testing machines mean viruses can be quickly screened for in the clinic.

Patients are also questioned on what risks they might have taken to end up with the infection. The blood-borne virus is often spread from patient-to-patient by unqualified doctors or dentists using dirty instruments or syringes.

Asif Ali, a 26-year-old gardener, found he had hepatitis C when he had a routine health check up when applying to work in Dubai. His joints had been painful for several years, but he had no idea why. He had regularly received injections from backstreet doctors and six years ago had dental work.

Curing people of the disease, before they need expensive hospital care and transplants, could save countries huge amounts of money. The World Health Organization says it wants to eliminate both hepatitis B and C by 2030.

But with no vaccine on the horizon, hepatitis C can only be stamped out by treating those who have it. With transmission so rife among unqualified and backstreet doctors and dentists, medics also fear people will be infected just as they are cured. Cleaning up healthcare is therefore vital to the chances of stamping out the disease.

The MSF clinic in Machor Colony has cured an estimated 2,000 people since work began and has hit the 95 per cent success rate found in larger hospitals. Yet the disease attracts far less funding that HIV or tuberculosis, said Jessica Burry, who works on MSF’s Access Campaign.

“We have got the option to cure people and we don't have the political will or the funding to do it,” she said.

patients awaiting screening and Marchor Colony slum.

Protect yourself and your family by learning more about Global Health Security

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/0/pakistan-pilots-hepatitis-c-therapy-bid-wipe-silent-epidemic/
 

Riz

SENIOR MEMBER
Jan 20, 2010
3,679
-1
5,510
Country
Pakistan
Location
Pakistan
barber shops are one reason for that @CHACHA"G" @Dubious
No bro.. Barbers are not the reason because ladies are more effected as compared to Gents... Reason is our drinking water bro... Our underground waters TDS level is very high..our govt knows very well but they never want to let us know because we will demand them to provide us safe water... And we dont have enough funds.. Thats all
 

VCheng

ELITE MEMBER
Sep 29, 2010
39,022
55
33,416
Country
Pakistan
Location
United States
No bro.. Barbers are not the reason because ladies are more effected as compared to Gents... Reason is our drinking water bro... Our underground waters TDS level is very high..our govt knows very well but they never want to let us know because we will demand them to provide us safe water... And we dont have enough funds.. Thats all
Hep A is water-borne. Hep B/D, and C are blood-borne.
 

Goenitz

SENIOR MEMBER
Apr 28, 2014
3,418
0
3,496
Country
Pakistan
Location
United Kingdom
No bro.. Barbers are not the reason because ladies are more effected as compared to Gents... Reason is our drinking water bro... Our underground waters TDS level is very high..our govt knows very well but they never want to let us know because we will demand them to provide us safe water... And we dont have enough funds.. Thats all
man.. water issue needs another topic... the level of intoxicant our ground water contains is un-imaginable.. the hard (khara) water sometimes contain too much fluoride.. it produces deformity in bones (sometimes people mistook that as polio).... then there is arsenic causes cancer and what not.... there was a report that a locality near lahore has too many hep patients... reason, barbers...
 

VCheng

ELITE MEMBER
Sep 29, 2010
39,022
55
33,416
Country
Pakistan
Location
United States
man.. water issue needs another topic... the level of intoxicant our ground water contains is un-imaginable.. the hard (khara) water sometimes contain too much fluoride.. it produces deformity in bones (sometimes people mistook that as polio).... then there is arsenic causes cancer and what not.... there was a report that a locality near lahore has too many hep patients... reason, barbers...
Not just barbers. Poor practices by quacks, dispensaries and hospitals, drug addictions with needle use, etc etc are also important causes.
 

wulff

FULL MEMBER
Oct 3, 2007
168
2
256
You built a nuke industry from scratch, didn't you? Could building a pharma giant be harder? Imagine a Pakistani drug company that can produce generic life-saving drugs like these in-country. Not only does it have a market of 220 million people available to it, but it can easily export these low cost drugs to the rest of the world, making billions of dollars in exports
 

VCheng

ELITE MEMBER
Sep 29, 2010
39,022
55
33,416
Country
Pakistan
Location
United States
You built a nuke industry from scratch, didn't you? Could building a pharma giant be harder? Imagine a Pakistani drug company that can produce generic life-saving drugs like these in-country. Not only does it have a market of 220 million people available to it, but it can easily export these low cost drugs to the rest of the world, making billions of dollars in exports
Social development, including public health, is a much more difficult issue to deal with compared to nuclear weapons.
 

wulff

FULL MEMBER
Oct 3, 2007
168
2
256
Social development, including public health, is a much more difficult issue to deal with compared to nuclear weapons.
I'm not talking about healthcare services. I'm saying the government can help some of the main local drug companies merge into a big pharma giant. This pharmaceutical manufacturing company, with the government's support, can then start volume manufacture of most generic drugs and can also license some of the new generation drugs that Iranian and Chinese pharma companies have developed. The aim should be to build a national champion in pharmaceutical manufacturing.

The big challenges in such an endeavor IMHO are:

1) building drug manufacturing facilities (government can help here as it is a matter of investing enough cash)
2) establishing Drug R&D Labs (government can help here too, big problem being cash investment)
3) building a pool of top notch researchers at the R&D Labs (this is where the government can help by facilitating collaboration with Chinese, Turkish, Iranian and western manufacturers and R&D labs)

The whole thing is less of a challenge than what Pakistan has already achieved in the nuk program
 

Imran Khan

PDF VETERAN
Oct 18, 2007
56,007
-1
108,599
Country
Pakistan
Location
Pakistan
No bro.. Barbers are not the reason because ladies are more effected as compared to Gents... Reason is our drinking water bro... Our underground waters TDS level is very high..our govt knows very well but they never want to let us know because we will demand them to provide us safe water... And we dont have enough funds.. Thats all
that is why i drink alcohol its purified water without any bacteria
 

VCheng

ELITE MEMBER
Sep 29, 2010
39,022
55
33,416
Country
Pakistan
Location
United States
I'm not talking about healthcare services. I'm saying the government can help some of the main local drug companies merge into a big pharma giant. This pharmaceutical manufacturing company, with the government's support, can then start volume manufacture of most generic drugs and can also license some of the new generation drugs that Iranian and Chinese pharma companies have developed. The aim should be to build a national champion in pharmaceutical manufacturing.

The big challenges in such an endeavor IMHO are:

1) building drug manufacturing facilities (government can help here as it is a matter of investing enough cash)
2) establishing Drug R&D Labs (government can help here too, big problem being cash investment)
3) building a pool of top notch researchers at the R&D Labs (this is where the government can help by facilitating collaboration with Chinese, Turkish, Iranian and western manufacturers and R&D labs)

The whole thing is less of a challenge than what Pakistan has already achieved in the nuk program
Great idea! That should be easily achievable, I am sure, with the present government in charge.
 

CHACHA"G"

SENIOR MEMBER
Apr 18, 2016
3,414
7
5,569
Country
Australia
Location
Pakistan
Hep A because of dirty water ,,, B, C and D because of dirty life style …….. we are one kind of unhygienic nation on plant earth
 

Rusty

ELITE MEMBER
Jun 19, 2011
8,632
3
13,719
Country
Canada
Location
Pakistan
It's terrifying how many people are infected with all sorts of diseases.

There needs to be public education in hygiene, sexual education, and dangers of barbers/ unlicensed doctors.

Prevention is always better than cure.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Total: 1, Members: 0, Guests: 1)

Top