By Lauran Neergaard, usatoday.com:
WASHINGTON (AP) — There's new hope for an overlooked epidemic: Two powerful drugs are nearing the market that promise to help cure many more people of liver-attacking hepatitis C — even though most who have the simmering infection don't know it yet.
Surprisingly, two-thirds of hepatitis C sufferers are thought to be baby boomers who've harbored since their younger, perhaps wilder, years a virus that can take two or three decades to do its damage.
What could be a treatment revolution is spurring the government to consider if it's time to start screening aging baby boomers for hepatitis C, just like they get various cancer checks.
"We're entering a whole new era of therapy," says Dr. John Ward, hepatitis chief at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We really want to begin that clarion call for action for this population who's at risk."
Today's two-drug treatment for hepatitis C cures only about 40% of people with the most common variety of the virus, and causes some grueling side effects. Now major studies show that adding a new drug ... Read more>>