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Critical years ahead in fight against hepatitis C virus

In the last five years, new drugs have revolutionized the treatment of hepatitis C (HCV), a virus that causes serious liver disease.

Jul 28, 2016

By Neale McDevitt, McGill University and Gilda Salomone, MUHC


In the last five years, new drugs have revolutionized the treatment of hepatitis C (HCV), a virus that causes serious liver disease. These medicines, which are safer and more effective than older therapies, have raised hope of one day eliminating HCV as a public health problem. But numerous challenges remain: limited access to treatment, insufficient diagnosis, high cost of drugs, and not least of all, HIV-HCV co-infection, a growing epidemic that accelerates liver disease. On World Hepatitis Day (July 28), we talk to Dr. Marina Klein, research director of the Chronic Viral Illness Service the McGill University Health Centre and professor of Medicine at McGill University about the current situation and about her research on patients with HIV and chronic hepatitis.

"For the first time, we are starting to see the potential for controlling hepatitis C as an epidemic and possibly even eradicating it in certain populations." – Dr. Marina Klein

How does one get hepatitis C?

The hepatitis C virus is a blood-borne virus. Currently in Canada, the vast majority of people acquire it through injection drug use, but before the 1980s, it was commonly acquired through tainted blood transfusions. Globally, between 130 and 150 million people have Hepatitis C.

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