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The fight against hepatitis

The fight against hepatitis

About 400 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis B or C. The World Health Organization (WHO) describes the disease as a viral time bomb. With a better awareness and new treatment options, this curable disease can be tackled and 4,000 lives can be saved every day.

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver and refers to a group of viral infections that affect this vital organ. The most common forms are hepatitis A, B, and C. Although vaccines are available to prevent hepatitis A and B, no vaccine currently exists for hepatitis C. The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is transferred via the blood and causes one of the most common viral liver diseases. The disease can go unnoticed for many years and is therefore often called the 'silent disease'. The seriousness of hepatitis C ranges from a mild illness which lasts for a few weeks to a lifelong and chronic disorder that can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer, and other serious or fatal liver diseases.

Enormous evolution

In the last 25 years, vast progress has been made to reduce hepatitis C to a curable disease. Today, there are new therapies with much fewer side effects which have a higher cure rate and shorter treatment times than before.

The paradox is that few people realize that they are infected. More effective information about the virus and the disease should lead to better detection, so that patients can be healed at the right time and with the right treatment. Screening must be optimized so that we gain more insight into who is suffering from hepatitis C. At present, there are thousands of Belgians who are currently unaware that they have the disease. Together with patient organizations, doctors, nurses, and patients, Janssen launched mycompanion.org in 2014. This platform gathers all the information about hepatitis C and is designed to raise awareness of the disease.

World without hepatitis

Major steps forward have been made in recent years. Janssen has launched two new hepatitis C medicines, which have helped over 200,000 patients. One of those two medicines has recently been included in the WHO list of essential medicines. Janssen continues to conduct research on hepatitis C and is exploring a new generation of treatments and methods to tackle the disease, together with its partners. Research is also ongoing for a hepatitis B medicine.

For more information, please visit the website: http://worldhepatitisday.org