Hepatitis Scotland e-Bulletin 4


Welcome to the next instalment of Hepatitis Scotland's e-Bulletin. As the bulletin continues to evolve we are working on providing a mainly research focussed bulletin every second issue, to keep you up to date on recent national and international developments in treatment, including adjuncts as discussed in this issue, and support.


E-Bulletin 4 reports on a fairly broad range of recent research and technology, mainly related to Hepatitis C. The potential effectiveness in the United States of universal, rather than risk factor based, screening for HCV raises questions about current screening practice. The prospect of newer interferon-free treatments is promising. The use of new technology to assist venipuncture may have important implications for enhancing patient experience and decreasing unnecessary costs. UK research that highlights the actual benefits of combining opioid therapy and higher levels of needle exchange is very welcome and backs up theoretical modelling. The use of adjunct therapies or products should be evidence based and three pieces of recent research highlight the apparently positive effect of  coffee, although these studies need to be replicated with larger cohorts.

Hepatitis Scotland does not endorse products. However we do believe that if there is interest in new treatment or technologies then ways to decrease service costs should be explored. As the Accuvein technology appears to be of interest to a number of services, Hepatitis Scotland would like to highlight this with NSS National Procurement, as a way of negotiating down costs. Please email leon@hepatitisscotland.org.uk if your service would like to register interest.


Leon Wylie

Lead Officer, Hepatitis Scotland

Baby Boomers hold the key in the US?

HCV testing for ALL American baby boomers (those born between 1945 and 1965) would identify 86% of that cohort who were chronically infected, according to a paper presented at the annual conference of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). This could prevent  82000 HCV related deaths  in the US.

HIV Scotland appoint new CEO George Valiotis

Hepatitis Scotland welcomes the appointment of George Valiotis as CEO of HIV Scotland. Hepatitis Scotland's Lead Officer Leon Wylie said," We look forward to working with George and continuing our work with his team. As Co-chairs of the Sexual Health and BBV Strategy voluntary sector network we will look at innovative ways of partnership working to enhance the effectiveness of voluntary sector input. I am sure George will be excellent to work with".

Methadone and Injecting Equipment: the defence rests (for now)

Together, studies recently conducted across the UK suggest that consistent participation in methadone maintenance treatment plus adequate access to fresh injecting equipment has prevented many hepatitis C infections. This evidence backs some of the core tenets of the Scottish Government's Phase 2 Hepatitis C action Plan.  

(sourced from  Drug and Alcohol Findings)


Technology hits the right vein

A new technology being trialled in Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS could enhance patient experience when attending assessment and treatment at specialist clinics. This could potentially start to overcome patient fears about accessing specialist treatment and therefore lead to greater numbers coming forward for treatment.

Accuvein, which has been the subject of an STV and national newspaper story is a illumination technology that can show a real time map of a patients veins on the skin where venipuncture is about to take place, potentially elevating the likelihood of locating a vein that blood can be taken from. Laura Mathers, Blood Borne Virus Clinical Nurse Specialist Team Leader from the Brownlee Centre said," it is not always successful (approx 50%) but can be a very useful additional tool in identifying veins. This can lead to a better relationship with these patients who have often had bad experiences having blood taken in the past and those who are needle phobic".  Laura added that over time it can save large amounts of staff time, equipment costs and lessen the number of unsuccessful laboratory reports, decreasing the need to recall patients for re-testing.



Coffee and HepC

Coffee consumption may slow liver disease progression and increase the chances of success while undergoing treatment for chronic hepatitis C infection, but drinking three or more cups a day also appears to reduce the incidence of HCV treatment side effects by more than 80 percent amongst people with HIV and HCV.

 (Sourced from hepmag.com)


New Hep C medications look to no interferon in the future

 A twelve-week course of Pharmasset’s once-daily experimental nucleotide analog PSI-7977, combined with ribavirin, cured 10 of 10 people living with genotype 2/3 hepatitis C virus (HCV) who used the regimen—without pegylated interferon—in a Phase II clinical trial.

On the back of this small but succesful trial Pharmasset has instituted Phase 3 trials of an Interferon-Free  Program with PSI-7977 for HCV
- Three l studies planned to evaluate PSI-7977 400 mg QD plus ribavirin for 12 weeks in patients with HCV
- Anticipated US and EU marketing submissions in second half of 2013

PSI-7977 also has had success with Genotype 1 when used with combination therapy, getting clearance rates of 91% in the trial. 

(Sourced from Hepmag.com)


Boceprevir, Teleprevir Working Well in HIV/HCV Coinfection Studies

Roughly 70 percent of people living with HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) coinfection have undetectable HCV viral loads after 24 weeks of treatment with either teleprevir or boceprevir plus pegylated interferon and ribavirin, according to interim results from two studies reported at two recent medical conferences.


 Raw Opium                   TDPFScotlandINVITATION_4.pdf 

An event in Glasgow  on the 8th December,  debating the film Raw Opium: Pain, Pleasure, Profits and the recommendations of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, will discuss dovetailing new approaches with the strengths of current drug strategy and practice.


Hepatitis Scotland
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Telephone: 0141 225 0419
Fax: 0141 248 6414