Hepatitis C is a disease of the liver, caused by the Hepatitis C virus. It is a blood borne virus and can be contracted through sharing of injection equipment, syringes and needles, transfusion of unscreened blood, sexual relationship with an infected person and also can pass on from an infected mother to her baby. The disease can be both acute and chronic. An acute Hepatitis C infection is a short-term illness and is rarely life-threatening. While 15%-45% people can be cured of the virus within 6 months, it can also lead to a chronic infection in some people. A chronic Hepatitis-C infection is relatively long term and can also lead to more serious conditions like cirrhosis of the liver or liver cancer. Serious cases of Hepatitis-C also might need a liver transplant.
A person can get the disease anytime between 2 weeks- 6 months after being exposed to the virus. Due to the fact that the disease is largely asymptomatic, very few people suffering an acute form of the disease go undetected. Those who go onto develop a chronic form of the disease also can be completely undetected and can only show symptoms much later when secondary liver infections develop because of the virus.
Hepatitis-C is found to infect people across the globe, with Africa and Central and East Asia being the most affected regions. According to reports, 130-150 mn people globally are infected with Hepatitis-C and approximately 500000 people die each year. While there is currently no vaccine available for the disease, anti-viral medicines can cure 90% of people infected, reducing risks of liver cancer and cirrhosis. However, with diagnosis being a major hindrance due to the lack of symptoms, people with acute infection can go onto develop a chronic version of the disease over time.
The treatment for Hepatitis-C depends on a number of conditions like the extent of damage of the liver, the level of Hepatitis-C virus in the body, the type of Hepatitis-C contracted by the patient or other health conditions that the patient might have. The medicines to treat Hepatitis-C are also known to have side effects and are also expensive, making it inaccessible for everyone. The medicines commonly used to treat the disease include interferons combined with ribavirin plus a protease inhibitor such as boceprevir (Victrelis) or telaprevir (Incivek). These are generally used for 6 months upto a year, helping cure the patient.
There is, however, good news for patients being treated in India of the disease. The drug, Sovaldi, considered to be a break-through treatment for the disease is now being made available in India at 1% of the cost it is found in the USA. Being sold in India under the brand name, Sovaldi, the medicine will be available for as less as USD900 for a 12 week period, with the entire treatment package costing approximately USD 2100-USD 3600 for the same timeframe. This includes upto five consultations at the hospital and tests that include HCV RNA Genotype, HCV RNA Quantitative, CBC, LFT, RFT, PT/ INR, AFP, FIBROSCAN and HbS Ag, HIV Card Test. Packages are also available for 24 weeks costing approximately between USD 2600-USD 4600. These costs are all a fraction of the costs at which it is available in the USA.
Doctors Beyond Borders is associated with a large number of hospitals and doctors across the country offering treatment in Hepatitis-C. Doctors Beyond Borders also already has experience of making Hepatitis-C treatments available to patients from across the globe. Patients coming into the country for treatment will be given a large range of treatment packages and medical institutions to choose from and select the best packages that are feasible for treatment, according to cost and time available.