03 October, 2007

Hep C - The Silent Killer

The situation is grave... 350-400 million people worldwide are infected with Hepatitis C (that's 1 in every 15 persons). The Hep C Virus (HCV) is the biggest challenge to human life.

There are no vaccines to protect us from HCV. The treatment available, at present, which is very expensive, doesn't guarantee 100% cure.

Most governments have turned to the private sector to find effective treatment/ drugs - which is a worrying development. Instead of declaring war against the virus, HCV is seen as the biggest commercial opportunities. With 7% of the world population helpless against the virus... the shylocks are rubbing their palms in glee. The situation cannot be termed unfortunate, it is a disaster.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc are ahead of the race for developing an effective treatment. It might be heartening to a few people, but the horror of profiteering cannot be brushed aside: in April 2005 - they were trading at $9.20 a share at the NASDAQ. Today it is trading at $39.00

I believe we should all ask this question, how did we defeat the smallpox virus? Smallpox virus killed almost half a billion people in the 20th century. Every government/ state contributed in defeating smallpox virus; the job was not outsourced to private companies like Halliburton or Blackwater.

HCV victims are a captive market for private pharma companies - a giant money-spinning wheel. Why would they ever want to eradicate HCV? There has to be a partnership between Governments and NGOs to win this battle.

Dubai Government's initiative, Dubai Cares, is a wonderful programme to help the needy. I can see hope in what His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum says:

"If we want to champion prosperity and progress, we cannot ignore poverty. We should therefore emphasize the role of education as the most powerful weapon in breaking the vicious circle of poverty."

I hope, Dubai will also take the leadership in the war against the Hepatitis C Virus. This is a battle we cannot ignore or afford to lose. We need to educate people and also find a cure for this dreadful disease.

I have been blogging http://www.hcvnews.blogspot.com/ - putting together news reports and other content since May 2006.

There has to be a major drive to educate people about Hepatitis C, especially in a country like UAE. If anyone from the UAE Blogging Community would like to participate as a volunteer blogger - in the HCV News blog


david santos said...


Dubai Blogger said...

I think you are over Simplifying. These viruses are very different. They are different organisms. Not only that Smallpox as deadly as it is is aggressive and presents aggressively. According to what i read before I posted here, that makes it easier to diagnose quickly. This leads to faster solutions.

Also the HC Virus is deadly but it is not a short term painful but quick death. If it were killing people in a week or two after contraction and spreading around sanitary cities in a short time, I believe the response of most people would be more aggressive.

I am not shocked people want to make money off of medicine. But at the same time I think we should make challenges by comparing apples to apples.

Anonymous said...

Thank Heavens sensible ppl like you walk the earth, there may still be hope.... but even then I think the dice is loaded in favour of the conglomerates/multinationals.

Hmmmm ... how much more money do they want to make? And at what cost? Difficult to comprehend.

For a good soul that you are.
May the force be with you!

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Rose in Dubai said...

>>If it were killing people in a week or two after contraction and spreading around sanitary cities in a short time, I believe the response of most people would be more aggressive. <<

Yeah right! Especially the drug companies! There is nothing worse for their profit margins than a disease that kills off its host too quickly!

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