Science Has Found A Cure For One Of The World's Most Prevalent Infectious Diseases
Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
Even though it takes a journalistic backseat to such diseases as HIV, hepatitis C infects an astonishing 2.7 million Americans and as many as 150 million people worldwide. And this ain't no case of the sniffles -- for the majority of sufferers, this chronic infection leads to a slow, agonizing death by way of a thoroughly shit-out liver. And common treatments for the condition, while life-extending, are only marginally less harrowing. In addition to killing hundreds of thousands of people each and every year, hep C holds the dual distinction of being the world's leading cause of both liver cancer and liver transplants.
Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images
And inappropriate Hannibal Lecter jokes from transplant surgeons.
Man, if only science could discover a way to tackle such a viral asshole. Surely, we'd hear all about a historic feat like that, right?
The Good News:
There's a whole new class of wonder drugs called direct-acting antivirals, which, as the name implies, directly kick the asses of the viruses roving throughout a patient's bloodstream. This isn't a treatment; it's a full-fledged cure. And that's incredible news in and of itself, because haven't we always been told that, while we had antibiotics to fight against bacterial infections, we were pretty much fucked against viruses? Not so in this case. And best of all, the treatment is largely free of adverse side effects. So while you shouldn't take this news as indication that you're free to run out and have an unprotected sex 'n' shared-heroin-needle hooker party, if you do end up infected, Big Pharma's got your back.
Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Blend Images/Getty Images
"So you went to bat without a helmet, huh? No worries, we got this."
"But wait," you interject on cue. "There's no way those bastards are going to cure us all for free." Right you are, and that's kind of a sore point at the moment. It costs about $100,000 to cure one patient, and if you multiply that by the aforementioned 2.7 million patients in America alone, you end up with a number trailing so many zeroes that it would look like we fell asleep on the keyboard.
Still, it's important to look at things in context: Even at its pants-shitting price point, the cure only costs about a third of what it would cost to treat someone with an advanced hepatitis C infection. And there's indication that it's entirely possible to make the treatment more affordable, because the first manufacturer, Gilead, has already committed to dropping the price dramatically in developing countries, while the wonders of capitalism are bound to bring prices down here at home. Maybe Big Pharma isn't as villainous as the media's made it out to be.
OK, let's not go that far. But hey, cure for hepatitis C! Yay!
Be sure to follow us on Facebook and YouTube, where you can catch all our video content, such as 8 Local News Segments Gone Horribly Wrong and other videos you won't see on the site!
Also check out 7 Reasons the World Looks Worse Than It Really Is and 13 Awesome Photos That Will Make You Happy to Be Alive.