e-Bulletin 23

Welcome to the latest edition of the Hepatitis Scotland e-Bulletin.


World Hepatitis Day 2013: Round Up


World Hepatitis Day was on July 28th and this year in Scotland it was bigger than ever! Aside from various events taking place across the country, a national campaign entitled 'The Big Red C' encouraged people who have previously been at risk of Hepatitis C to access testing.  Featuring the tagline, 'Ever injected? Get tested', bus and public washrooms advertisements appeared across Glasgow, Edinburgh, Lanarkshire, Tayside and Grampian. The campaign gained extensive newspaper, radio and TV coverage across Scotland. 






The Big Red C campaign culminated in a national family fun day at Scotstoun Leisure Centre on the theme of living a healthy life with Hepatitis C. The event was attended by over 250 people and included sports competitions, a BBQ, live music, health information stalls and more besides. 


Community Action Research into people's experience and knowledge of information and signposting at the point of testing and diagnosis, was also carried out on the day and you can follow the reporting on our website.

View photographs of the Scotstoun event on our Facebook page.


Three Wise Monkeys World Record attempt


The World Hepatitis Alliance sought to break last years' Guinness World Record attempt for performing the Three Wise Monkeys, alongside their campaign - 'Know it. Confront it.'  This was largely supported by the Hepatitis C Trust with various events taking place around the UK.  

Addaction Fife World Hepatitis Day Funday

Despite one of the wettest days of this otherwise surprisingly good summer, Addaction Fife went ahead with their World Hepatitis Day fun day.  Although curtailed by the weather, people gathered in the craft hut, went ahead with a BBQ and at 2pm went ahead with the Guinness World Record attempt.  

Addaction Fife is a harm reduction service with a very proactive BBV/Hepatitis C programme, providing dry blood spot testing, post treatment advice and education plus support throughout the treatment journey. 

For more information contact  Hazel on 07587 129 732  or Dave on 01592 619090.

Round up on Hepatitis C Trust website.



WHO publish Global Policy Report while Hepatitis treatments debut on Essential Medicines List

To coincide with World Hepatitis Day 2013, the World Health Organisation have published the Global Policy Report on Prevention and Control of Viral Hepatitis.  This features a country by country review of national viral hepatitis strategies. From a Scottish perspective, it does not differentiate between the four UK national strategies as it is based on WHO member states (the UK as a whole). 

The Model Essential Medicines List serves as a cornerstone for countries to develop their own national Essential Medicines Lists. For the first time, the globally agreed list that helps individual nations identify priority medicines for their citizens – now includes pegylated interferon. The application to include interferon notes that a combination of interferon alfa 2a or 2b and ribavirin is the current first line and only commercially available treatment for hepatitis C.

Public Health England also launched the Hepatitis C in the UK: 2013 report to coincide with World Hepatitis Day.

D best thing since sliced bread?

More evidence for a low cost intervention that could have major benefits for people affected by Hepatitis C.

Vitamin D for patients with chronic Hepatitis C

A recent review published in the Journal of Hepatology has cited a growing body of experimental and clinical evidence in relation to vitamin D with chronic Hepatitis C infection. It suggests that vitamin D is a risk factor in HCV-affected patients and that supplementation might protect against liver disease and improve responses to treatment.  It highlights the need  to conduct well designed clinical trials to evaluate the effects and optimum levels of vitamin D supplementation.

Low vitamin D associated with increased levels of Hepatitis B virus

German researchers have found that low levels of vitamin D are associated with high levels of hepatitis B viral replication.

See also this study into Vitamin D levels and fibrosis in Genotype 1 Hepatitis C which suggests a complex interplay between liver damage, vitamin D and genetic determinants of vitamin D deficiency.

For previous e-bulletin articles, links here and here


An apple a day .......

A BBC report has again highlighted Scotland's battle with healthy living, with two-thirds of adults classed as overweight or obese. Scotland's Public Health Minister Michael Matheson has urged hospitals and supermarkets to do better in tackling Scotlands obesity epidemic. A Scotsman story by Lesley Riddoch explores potential reasons.

Hepatitis Scotland's E-bulletin 20 looks at obesity and hepatitis in more depth, including various scientific papers.


China cancels Gilead patent


Chinese officials have followed India and Brazil in cancelling the patent on Gileads' HIV and Hepatitis B drug Viread. Removing this patent clears the way for generic production of the Viread's active ingredient Tenofovir at a time when international grants to combat AIDS in China are being cut.

Whilst the move is expected to give China greater leverage in negotiating prices with drug companies, it is controversial in that the Chinese wish not only to sell the drug in China but to export it to countries where there is no patent in place - potentially costing Gilead many millions in lost revenue.

Read news article here.

The Pharming "Lobby"


A  newspaper report is claiming a memo leaked by a drug company employee has shown that pharmaceutical companies have 'mobilised' patient groups to lobby against European Medicine Agency plans to force drug companies to publish all clinical trial data on new drugs. The pharmaceutical industry has been under pressure to publish all rather than a percentage of clinical trial results. 

Those opposing the plans have raised concerns over patient privacy being compromised, trade secrets being revealed and that information from trials may be distorted or cherry picked and cause public health scares.

Read full article here


The pipeline continues to flow


A  comprehensive article compiled by the Hepatitis C Trust that gives an update on the HCV new drugs pipeline.


Abbvie say they can beat Gilead


Abbvie Inc has said that it can beat Gilead in the race to bring an all oral Hepatitis C treatment to market.  Their unnamed multidrug therapy is in the last stage of the 3 stage trial required for US approval and is said to be progressing well.


In a Phase 2 trial Gileads combination therapy of sofusbuvir and ledipasvir cured 95% of patients after 8 weeks of therapy. The treatment may be sold as a single once a day pill.  Abbvie’s multi drug therapy cured 90% of patients in a Phase 2 trial after 8 weeks treatment, consisting of 3 pills in the morning and 1 at night. 


It has long been held that Gilead will be first to market with what has been labelled a blockbuster therapy and they have recently received approval from the US FDA for a fast track decision as well as having been granted a fast track approval in the EU.


Read more on this story here.


Hepatitis C among young injecting drug users


This is a consultation report looking at the emerging trend in several states across the USA of newly acquired Hepatitis C infection in young injecting drug users.


Surveillance data from Massachusetts compiled in 2010 first highlighted this emerging trend, with several other jurisdictions going on to report similar results; rising rates of hepatitis C infection among young injectors, both male and female, primarily White, found in suburban and rural settings, who started misusing prescription opioids before transitioning to heroin injection. 


Data collected from 1979-2002 in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimated that 590,000 people aged 18-29 had ever injected drugs and that 45% of them are infected with Hepatitis C.


Amidst worries that high transmission levels among this population could reverse overall declines in incidence and prevalence, this report looks at the data and offers recommendations on how this may be effectively tackled.



End 'wasteful methadone debate' - Scottish Drugs Forum


The Scottish Drugs Forum have criticised the ‘narrow, wasteful and often badly informed debate on methadone’, saying that the focus should be on how we maximise the benefits of methadone and other opiod replacement therapies.


SDF said, "In the past, Scotland has found itself at the centre of an unnecessary and wasteful debate on ORT and particularly methadone, which has been a distraction from improving our response to problem drug use.

"Unhelpfully, controversialists have made this a frequent focus. While public scrutiny of the efficacy and efficiency of services is necessary and to be welcomed, much of this focus was ill-informed and based on poor understanding and misapprehensions.



GPs given 'key role' in improving Hepatitis B


New NICE guidance on diagnosis and management of Hepatitis B has urged GPs to assess and refer patients with Hepatitis B for specialist treatment. It calls on GPs to arrange further tests for those diagnosed as Hepatitis B surface antigen positive and refer them to a hepatologist or gastroenterologist.  


This was after a London audit found that a third of people diagnosed with chronic Hepatitis B in primary care were not referred to specialist care, despite improving treatments, and that the condition was under-recognised and poorly understood.



Hepatitis B updates


Taiwan leading fight against Hepatitis B - EASL recognises Taiwanese Professor and excellent results achieved in battle against Hepatitis B in Taiwan. Read more here.


General hepatitis updates


Hepatitis C treatment diary: Hepatitis C Trust worker keeps video diary whilst on treatment - follow here.


FDA denies approval for Dynavax’s Hep B vaccine - read article here.


FDA approves fast track for Sofusbuvir - read article here.


IL28B polymorphisms in genotype 2 and 3 Hepatitis C - read article here.


D is for Delta: A primer on the Hepatitis D virus - read more here.


Viral Hepatitis a major public health problem in Pakistan - read more here.


Hepatitis Scotland
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