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?
Hepatitis C 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 headaches.
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
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.
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