When HCV kills really fast

I came across a study* that was a shocker.  In 1994, 30 UK patients with  primary immune deficiencies received a batch of HCV-contaminated human immunoglobulin (that had been screened) and became infected with acute hepatitis.

Of these 30, four developed end-stage liver failure within 18 months (see discussion).  One patient died before transplantation; one died after, one lived and one died of other causes.  Most of the other patients had better outcomes with IFN treatment and/or in clearing the virus.  Study conclusion:

“HCV can cause rapid severe liver disease in hypogammagloulinaemic patients.”

A small percentage of fortunate people with non-compromised immune systems clear the HCV infections; for others, decades pass before any symptoms and subsequent testing reveal the chronic infection and the various stages of liver damage.  According to an article by Kenneth E. Sherman, MD: Advanced Liver Disease: What Every Hepatitis C Virus Treater Should Know, disease progression is not linear; and it moves faster for those who have infections like HIV or have a history of excessive alcohol consumption.

There is no question that HIV/AIDS research benefits research in other infectious diseases but the allocation of public research funds for HCV is pitiful in comparison to HIV funding.

NIH categorical research monies for HCV versus HIV/AIDS

2011 FY actual funded research 114 million for HCV (2-pages of projects).

2011 FY actual funded research 3,059 million for HIV/AIDS; (23-pages of projects).

The information technologists who design and maintain the NIH website, Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT), have done a good job making information accessible with good finding tools.

Besides greater funding for hepatitis research, the government should promote routine HCV testing for all adults.  Putting information about HCV under the AIDS umbrella  will reach a limited demographic; it’s not nearly broad enough to reach everyone.

Imagine going from a normal to end-stage liver disease in only 18 months.

About Laura

NW Vermont.
This entry was posted in Guest authors, HCV Health, HCV Risks (documented), Vietnam Disease Issues and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to When HCV kills really fast

  1. Silvia Price says:

    What they mean by “damage is not linear” is that it takes more years to go from having Stage 1 to Stage 2 than it takes to go from Stage 3 to Stage 4. So the damage progresses faster when you have more advanced disease. Alcohol doubles the rate of damage. So if it was going to take 30 years to get to cirrhosis, if you drink alcohol, it will take only 15 years to be cirrhotic.

    However, the study is talking about Hypogammaglobulinemia which is a type of primary immune deficiency disease characterized by a reduction in all types of gamma globulins. So they have no defenses and have to take IV gammaglobulin all the time.

    • Kiedove says:

      This is so terrible for people afflicted with a consistent need for blood products knowing that there is no such thing as zero risk in getting a blood borne pathogen.

      Silvia, What is it about alcohol’s chemistry that speeds up liver damage so rapidly? Do people with liver disease have to forgo alcohol completely? .Or can they enjoy a beer now and then? .

  2. Silvia Price says:

    If we made as much money as Lloyd Wright selling sups we’d be in better shape too. But the truth is that he sells some things that are dangerous so be careful.

  3. RobertG says:

    I believe my non-compromised immune system is keeping me hanging on today. My white count is always low since my HCV 6 month study in 1995. I have attacked this with other than FDA approved Rx and believe it is working. I am a dead man if my immune system goes AWOL. This is what killed many of my study buddys all those years ago. Unfortunately they already gave up and went to self medications. This info is an eye opener. Yet more cud for the RO and the BVA to ignore at our expense. It seems AIDS and breast cancer in women get all the money and data….

    • Kiedove says:

      Your immune system is awesome. Some of that NIH money should be used to study it! Gosh, whatever you are doing, keep it up . And Nod, with his homegrown organic fresh vegetables and fruits, you know that is having a beneficial effect. Like any illness, the sooner they are discovered, the better the chances for a longer life. That’s why I think HIV and HCV should be routine testing, and not just once because you can get reinfected with either.
      With the rapid tests for both viruses now available, why the heck not do it? Aren’t we all worth it?

      • RobertG says:

        My info and routines comes from Lloyd Wrights site. He is very controversial but he suffers almost the same issues I do. Lots of good info there(non FDA approved) for us heppers….

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