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Novel Hepatitis C Drug Holds Promise: FDA
Date:4/27/2011

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The new drug was less effective for blacks than whites, the FDA said.

On Wednesday FDA reviewers were expected to study a similar drug, boceprevir, made by Merck & Co.

Telaprevir's cure rates appear to be better than boceprevir's, the AP reported.

On Thursday, the committee of outside experts will be asked for its comments and recommendations on telaprevir. The FDA is not required to follow the advice of its advisory panels, but it usually does so.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated 17,000 new hepatitis C virus infections in the United States in 2007. Many people with the disease have no symptoms until it has caused liver damage, sometimes so severe that a liver transplant is needed.

Until the early 1990s, when testing of the nation's blood supply became routine, hepatitis C was often contracted from blood transfusions. Today it is most commonly associated with injection drug use. It is also transmitted through sexual contact with an infected person, the CDC said.

Earlier this year, a study from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health called for greater efforts to reduce the population of hepatitis C-infected injection drug users. That study found that new cases of hepatitis C were decreasing only among younger injection drug users who had recently starting using the drugs.

More information

To learn more about hepatitis C, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

-- HealthDay staff

SOURCES: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Associated Press


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