So, in 2005, Sofia took a risk and joined Pharmasset, then a minor biotech firm. When Sofia arrived at Pharmasset, the company had already started moving away from the H.I.V.-drug development that it was initially known for, since the market had become saturated with nucleoside drugs that worked reliably with manageable side effects. Nucleosides are the building blocks of D.N.A. and R.N.A.; they can be chemically altered to terminate chains of genetic code early, producing something like a defective Lego that cant be build onto, stopping the growth of the virus. Though this chemistry had been used successfully to treat H.I.V., only a few labs were trying this approach with hepatitis C. Sofia noted that one of the companys test drugs, PSI-6130, showed activity against hepatitis C. Sofia realized that any effective hepatitis-C drug not only needed to get into the liver, where the virus was replicating, but stay there, to avoid unintended side effects elsewhere in the body. It is relatively easy to transport a drug to the liver: when you eat or drink something, it is absorbed into the bloodstream by the stomach and intestines, and in turn flows directly to the liver, the bodys metabolic engine. The problem is that, in their active form, nucleoside drugs dont enter liver cells. Sofia hypothesized that if he could shroud a nucleoside with an invisibility cloak to get it into liver cells he could then count on the livers enzymes to break down the cloak and activate the drug.
What you should know about Hepatitis
There is no cure, though the majority of people with hepatitis B make full recoveries. A vaccine does exist for this virus, though once an individual is infected, care must be taken to prevent the spread of hepatitis B to others. Symptoms usually manifest after several months and include: Jaundice Loss of appetite Nausea and vomiting As with hepatitis A, some people do not see any symptoms; asymptomatic infection is most common in infants and children. Those most at risk for this form of hepatitis include people practicing unprotected sex, individuals already infected with a sexually transmitted infection, individuals sharing drug needles, medical facility workers, and people receiving hemodialysis for renal disease. Treatment for hepatitis B will depend on the severity of the disease. If you know youve come in contact with the virus, an injection of hepatitis B immune globulin within 24 hours may prevent the virus from taking hold within the body. Acute cases may not need medication at all, though chronic hepatitis B will require antiviral medications to slow liver damage. If the liver becomes too weakened by the virus, a liver transplant may be required.
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Veterans Exposed to HIV & Hepatitis
There is an alternative. Give Veterans, especially combat-wounded Veterans a medical card that can be used at any facility of our choosing. Since everyone is so thankful for our service, why can't we be allowed the at least the same quality of healthcare as the general public; or better yet, why not the same level of healthcare that congress and all the federal employees receive? Simple questions. We served all the citizens of this country. Why should be be punished by being dumped into a healthcare system that has a culture, a mentality, and level of quality where mediocrity is many levels higher? I tell every recruit I meet, to not enlist. Why?