Treatment hope for hepatitis
Scientists have created a powerful new treatment for hepatitis using a revolutionary technique that switches off harmful genes, providing hope for the two billion people infected worldwide with the B strain of the virus.
Scientists found that a few regular injections of the new drug can result in a 90 per cent reduction in the amount of virus circulating in the bloodstream of infected animals.
The replication of the hepatitis B virus is blocked by the phenomenon of RNA interference - which switches off the genes that it needs for survival.
Results of a study have shown that RNA interference can work so effectively against invading viruses such as hepatitis that scientists believe the technique can be developed to produce an entirely new class of antiviral drugs.
The results of the study were published yesterday in the journal Nature Biotechnology, and are so encouraging that the scientists are planning to begin the first human trials of RNA interference on hepatitis B patients at the end of next year.
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