How to Diagnose Hepatitis C? – Tests and “New” Treatment

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Hepatitis C Virus is a dangerous virus that causes damage to the liver! It is a virus that mainly spreads through blood and other bodily fluids from one person to another. Significantly this virus is transmitted, if a person already has this Hepatitis C in his blood. So, without taking proper care, doing blood transfusion, using needles used by another person, mixing of another person’s blood during kidney dialysis, in this way this virus spreads.

Once in case of Blood transfusion like blood treatment issues, worldwide very strict and safe methods have been directed — the spread of this Hepatitis C from one person to another has reduced.

Peter Lambert, 55 - A case where Injection may be cause for transmission of Hepatitis C (Picture: Liam Driver Source: The Daily Telegraph)

Peter Lambert, 55 – A case where Injection may be cause for transmission of Hepatitis C (Picture: Liam Driver Source: The Daily Telegraph)

In about 80% of the patients, there are no symptoms, even after Hepatitis C is present in the body. So many of the people even don’t know that they have this virus. Only in some people, slight jaundice, lack of huger, slight fever, nausea like symptoms are present. Over that, these are reduced after some days. In this way, once this virus injects into the body, in about 15-45% people in 6 months, it completely comes out of the body. These people don’t even require any treatment. In the remaining 55-85% people, the virus doesn’t go out and remains inside the body.  It becomes a long-term problem. This is called as “Chronic Hepatitis C Infection”.

In this YouTube video, symptoms of Hepatitis C are listed.

In these people also, even though virus remains inside the body, immediately there are no symptoms. But in some of these people …, after 20-25 years, liver becomes hard (cirrhosis), and it may also completely fail. In some others, after 25-30 years, there is a danger of liver cancer. That’s why one should not take Hepatitis C very easily.

causes-of-hepatitis-cEssentially in persons above 40 years, people infected with Hepatitis C, people with drinking habits, in addition to this having Hepatitis B or HIV, due to different reasons people taking medicine that suppress the immune system … liver may quickly damage.

Secondly, if Hepatitis C gets into the body, Diabetes, Lichen planus, sever kidney disease Glomerulonephritis, Thyroid sickness like other problems may arise. That’s why once Hepatitis C is affected, and if it stays in the body for long duration… identifying it quickly and providing necessary treatment is important. That’s why taking precautionary measures to prevent spread of Hepatitis C is significant.

hepatitis-c-infectionAlso, if you get doubt – whether it is already present in the body?… if it is present, checking whether it becomes long-term illness, taking correct treatment and relieving it from the body is very necessary.

What are the Tests to Identify Hepatitis C in the body?

Antibody Test –

Once Hepatitis C enters into our body, to fight against and send it out, our body produces antibodies. That’s why first to know whether these antibodies (Anti-HCD antibodies) are present in the blood or not? Is to be tested. Once these antibodies are produced, these remain in the body for life-time. So in the test if it is identified that this antibody is present in our body – it means that in the past we have been infected with this virus. But whether the virus has gone out or still remains in the body is not ascertained in this test. That’s why another test is done.

test-for-hepatitis-c

HCV RNA –

Once we do this test, whether the virus still remains in the body or not is definitely known. If the virus is not present, that means it has come in the past and gone away, our body has successfully got rid of it and we will not have any problem with it, is the meaning. But if it still remains in the body, the issue has become chronic, to get rid of it or to avoid problem due to it, necessary treatment is necessary.

What type –

Once it is determine that the virus is present in the body… it is necessary to know, what type this virus belongs is important for treatment. Because, in Hepatitis C there are 11 different type of genotypes are present. In this, from 1 to 6 are prominently seen. In countries like USA, 1st type is more significantly seen, while in our country, 3rd type is more mainly seen.

Better than 1st type, 2nd , 3rd genotype varieties are better cured by treatment. For this remedy also, only small amount of time is enough, as in many surveys. That’s’ why depending upon the genotype, the treatment and the methods to be followed will change.

Is it Damaged?

If the virus already rests in the body, is the liver affected by it? Has it started to harden? Has it damaged? Such type of things have to be seen. For this doctors do liver functioning test (LFT), complete blood test, the way blood hardens related test, ultrasound scanning tests for stomach like other tests are conducted.

In this way, what type of Hepatitis C virus is present in the blood is confirmed… depending upon that treatment is given.

Also before starting the treatment –

how are the blood cells? Whether Fibrosis is present in the liver? How much is Serum Creatinine? Diabetes, Thyroid, Hepatitis A, B type antibodies like things are present? To know such additional things, compulsorily some tests are conducted.


In this YouTube video Dr. Joe Galati, M.D. (Texas Live Specialist) talks about the “new” drugs and treatment available for Hepatitis C cure. He lists the various side-effects of the drugs and also how to treat yourself from Hepatitis C in 2015.  

How much Change with New Treatment?

hepatitis-c-treatment

For Genotype-1,4 Treatment:

Till now – Every week, Interferon injections, daily Ribavirin tablets. For 48 weeks, these have to be given. Minimum Expenditure – Rs 3.4 lakhs (in India) or $6000. Side effects were too many.

New – Daily Sofosbuvir tablets, Ribavirin tablets, every week Interferon injections – For 12 weeks, if given is enough. The expenditure is just Rs 1.3 lakhs (in India) or $2000. Due to reduction in treatment age, the side-effects also are reduced.

For Genotype-2 treatment:

Till now– Every week Interferon injections, daily Ribavirin tablets – For 24 weeks it has to be given. For this the expenditure was around Rs 1.7 lakhs (in India) or $3000. Side effects were there.

New – Daily one Sofosbuvir tablet, Ribavirin tablets – For 12 weeks, if given is enough. The cost is just Rs 66 thousand (India) or $1000. Side effects are less.

For Gentoype-3 treatment:

Till now– Every week Peginterferon injection, Ribavirin tablets.. Till 24 weeks has to be given. For this the cost is Rs 1.7 lakhs (India) or $3000 (approx.).

New – Daily one Sofosbuvir tablet, one Ribavirin tablet – For 24 weeks is enough. For this the price is Rs 1.3 lakhs (India) or $2000.

This YouTube video talks about the treatment of HEPATITIS C  in 2015. 

Note:

  1. All the above expenditure, cost, price, expectations change from brand to brand.
  2. In near time, without the necessary of Peginterferon and Ribavirin, in less time giving successful treatment will become a reality. The price will also reduce.
  3. Currently in India, only Sofosbuvir is only available. To make to available for less cost, the respective company has given Indian companies the opportunity to manufacture generic drugs.
Lee Agur
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