World Hepatitis Day (July 28)

Published: 27 July 2015

World Hepatitis Day is an international, annual event held every year on July 28th. It is one of four international disease awareness days sponsored by the World Health Organization. It focuses on raising awareness on viral hepatitis, and using this awareness to influence real change. (Source: World Hepatitis Day Canada)

“Hepatitis C virus (HCV) affects at least 268,000 Canadians and causes greater disease burden than any other infectious disease in the country. In 2015, the release of well-tolerated, short course treatments (~12 weeks) able to cure >95% of treated patients revolutionized HCV therapy. However, treatment is extremely costly and puts a significant burden on the Canadian health care system. Thus, managing treatment costs, identifying those infected (many Canadians remain undiagnosed) and improving treatment engagement in those most in need will be a key challenge.”
- Selena Sagan

Expert: Selena Sagan, Department of Microbiology and Immunity, McGill University
Expertise: Her lab is focused on understanding the mechanisms of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA accumulation in the liver.
Contact: 514-398-8110. selena.sagan [at] Professor Sagan answers questions in English.

“Although there are good treatments for the worst of the hepatitis viruses, the hepatitis C, prevention is very important, particularly for those traveling outside Canada.  Viruses have a very high rate of mutation and exist as many genotypes. Most current treatments focus on the main viral genotypes found in industrialized nations; consequently, these drugs may be completely ineffective in treating infections with viral genotypes found mainly in developing countries.”
- Youla Tsantrizos

Expert: Youla Tsantrizos, Professor, Chemistry Department at McGill University
Expertise: In the field of antiviral agents against the hepatitis C virus (HCV), her contributions included the design and synthesis inhibitors which led to the discovery of the first clinically validated small molecule inhibitor of HCV.
Contact: youla.tsantrizos [at] Prof. Tsantrizos answers questions in English.

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