Hepatitis C is an infection of the liver from a
virus. World-wide more than 170 million people are
infected with this potentially fatal or life-threatening
disease. The hepatitis C virus causes liver inflammation
and when the disease becomes chronic, it can lead to
scarring of the liver (cirrhosis), liver failure and
cancer. Liver failure due to chronic hepatitis C is the
leading cause of liver transplantation today.
How is Hepatitis C transmitted?
is transmitted by blood and blood products, e.g.
intravenous drug use by sharing of needles and syringes;
small cuts caused, for example, by razors, etc. Before
the introduction of blood screening tests in 1992,
hepatitis C was also transmitted by blood transfusions.
It is rarely transmitted sexually, if at all. Most
infected people do not notice that they have the disease
as symptoms are rare. If they occur, they are unspecific
and include fatigue, occasional stomach-aches and
Standard treatment of the
blood-borne virus is through injections of interferon or
a combination of interferon and other antiviral drugs.
Interferons are natural proteins called cytokines which
the body makes to fight viruses. The major side effect
of interferon therapy is flu-like symptoms with fever,
joint and muscle aches.
To treat patients with
chronic hepatitis C, a new therapy with a pegylated
interferon is now being made available. Pegylation
extends the life of interferon therapy allowing it to
fight the virus longer.
Beside other testing
methods, Hepatitis can be detected by molecular
diagnostic means. Available Taj Pharmaceuticals Diagnostics tests are basing on
the Polymerase Chain Reaction. They are sensitive,
reliable and rapid, and enable clinical laboratories to
detect viral load for the quantitation of Hepatitis C
virus (HCV) RNA in human serum or plasma.