A new strategy has been devised by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, which may lead to the diseases being eradicated from the country in the near term.
The strategy aims at eliminating the two strains of the disease by 2030. The plan involves requesting the government to buy the rights to some of the expensive medicines used to treat these diseases. This recommendation is just one of the many passed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
The panel also called for vaccination camps for adults, in a bid to fight these deadly diseases. The committee further proposed that a single office bearer must coordinate these efforts.
Hepatitis: Propagation And Effects
Approximately 2.7 million Americans suffer from hepatitis C and 1.3 million from hepatitis B. These virus strains can be transferred through sexual contact, exposure to infected blood, and sharing needles with infected individuals.
Diagnosing hepatitis in the initial stages is difficult. Over the years, the virus can scar and ruin the liver, as well as cause malignant tumors. These strains of the hepatitis virus are the leading cause for liver cancer.
"Viral hepatitis is simply not a sufficient priority in the United States. Despite being the seventh leading cause of death in the world - and killing more people every year than HIV, road traffic accidents, or diabetes," said Brian Strom, the Chair of the committee that carried out the study.
Hepatitis Treatment Strategy
The Food and Drug Administration has approved some drugs for effective treatment of hepatitis. These drugs can remove the virus completely from the body in eight weeks. However, these drugs are among the most expensive available in the market.
To enable easier drug administration, the committee wants the federal government to buy rights of producing some of these medicines. Such a move would enable the costs of the drugs to reduce drastically.
The drugs, named Zepatier, Sovaldi, Daklinza, and Olysio are all legally-approved medications, and an agreement of license between the drug producers and the government could be crucial in helping the cause.
Nothing, barring "unrestricted mass treatment" of hepatitis C, will aid in the eradication of the disease from the United States by 2030. Delays in this scheme would eventually lead to more deaths and infections.
If the recommendations are followed, the government could reduce the number of deaths due to hepatitis C each year by 65 percent. The onus is on the federal government to follow these recommendations as swiftly as possible.