New hepatitis C virus mechanism elucidated

A group of researchers led by Assistant Professor OKAMOTO Toru and Professor MATSUURA Yoshiharu of the Research Institute for Microbial Diseases, Osaka University identified a new drug target capable of suppressing the propagation of the hepatitis C virus (HCV), improving HCV pathologic conditions, and discovering its drug efficacy. HCV, a main cause of viral liver cancer, accounts for 70 percent of all liver cancers in Japan. There are about 200 million HCV-infected people in the world. Once infected, people develop fatty liver, hepatic fibrosis, and liver cancer.

Tricks of Ticking time bomb Hepatitis B Virus

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) causes hepatitis B, an infectious disease that afflicts 230 million people worldwide, thereof 440 000 in Germany. Persistence of the virus in liver cells leads to progressive organ damage in the patient and contributes to a high risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer development. Providing a new paradigm to hepatitis B understanding, researchers at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, Germany, and Department of Infectious Diseases, Molecular Virology, Heidelberg University Hospital have now uncovered a novel maturation mechanism employed by HBV to improve its infection success. Their findings are reported in the newest issue of Cell Host & Microbe.

Hepatitis C: once the viral infection has healed, high-risk portal vein hypertension also diminishes

This inflammatory viral infection of the liver causes inflexible scar tissue to form. This in turn impedes blood flow through the organ, with resulting hypertension in the portal vein. Portal hypertension is responsible for most of the lethal complications of liver cirrhosis. A research group led by hepatologists Mattias Mandorfer and Karin Kozbial of MedUni Vienna's Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology have now demonstrated that portal vein hypertension also diminishes once the viral infection is healed. This is a relief for patients, because it means they can stop taking drugs with unpleasant side-effects and they do not need to undergo stressful check-ups quite as frequently.

Hepatitis C screening of prison inmates would benefit wider community and be cost-effective

The benefits of screening prison inmates for infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and treating those who test positive for the infection would extend far beyond the prison population, according to projections made by investigators from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH),the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University.

Enhanced treatment for hepatitis C could cut prevalence by 80%

By Ziba Kashef – Novel antiviral therapies for hepatitis C could reduce the prevalence of the blood-borne infection by more than 80%, according to an analysis by Yale researchers. The finding raises the possibility of greatly reducing, and even eliminating, hepatitis C in the United States if enhanced screening and treatment efforts target high-risk populations.