May 21, 2014
To the relief of patients diagnosed with hepatitis C, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved two new treatments late last year, and a few more are on the way. Now scientists are solving another side of the disease’s problem: identifying the millions more who have the virus but don’t know it — and unwittingly pass it on. A report in the ACS journal Analytical Chemistry describes a novel, scrapbook-inspired test that does just that. Xuan Mu, Zhi Zheng and colleagues point out that the hepatitis C virus (HCV), a blood-borne pathogen that can cause liver cirrhosis, cancer and even death, kills more people in the U.S. than HIV. It also infects an estimated 150 million people around the world. Although diagnostic tests exist, they require an initial screening and then a costly second test for confirmation.
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