By Muizat Hameed
The co-chairs of the recently updated HCV Guidance prepared by American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) in collaboration with Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), Drs. Marc G. Ghany, Kristen M. Marks, Timothy R. Morgan, and David L. Wyles, have described chronic hepatitis C (HCV) as a silent killer.
They said, “HCV has been called the silent killer, because of its ability to damage the liver while causing few or no symptoms. Identifying patients who don’t know they are infected is key to stopping the spread of the disease. Our panel has always recommended screening high- risk populations, but several studies now demonstrate that routine, one time HCV testing among all adults in the US would likely identify a substantial number of HCV cases that are currently being missed and that doing so would be cost effective. This is why we now recommend universal screening of the adults.”
According to the doctors, the updated guidance includes an important recommendation that all adults be screened.
They therefore recommended primary care providers should provide a simplified treatment algorithm for HCV-free patients without cirrhosis or with compensated cirrhosis. In addition, the suggested that new treatment be given to children between the ages of 3 and 11 ears.
The doctors further recommended in the new guide that patients with acute HCV be treated without a waiting period, and also suggested that health workers should update all treatments sections, including removal of less efficacious , complex , alternative regimens, and regimens no longer available in the US.
They believe that once new HCV cases are identified with safe and effective treatments, at least 95% of the infected patients across the globe can be cured within the next decade.
“We believe that the improved testing and treatment strategies described in the GUIDANCE will bring us closer to achieving the World Health Organization’s goal of eliminating HCV infection as a public health threat BY 2030.”, they added.