If there was a virus that affected millions of people across the globe, leading to one person dying every 30 seconds – wouldn’t we all be aware of it?
That virus is hepatitis, and World Hepatitis Day on 28 July aims to shine a light on this little-known disease.
Hepatitis causes inflammation and damage to the liver, and is a leading cause of liver disease.
There are five types of hepatitis viruses (A, B, C, D and E) and The Hospital Research Foundation Group is proud to be supporting the development of a new vaccine for Hepatitis C.
While a treatment has been developed for Hepatitis C in recent times, people can be re-infected, creating a huge health and economic burden in developing countries in particular. It is also an issue in Australia, with about 115,000 people living with Hepatitis C each year.
Dr Makutiro Masavuli, THRF Early Career Fellow and scientist within the Viral Immunology lab at the Basil Hetzel Institute for Translational Health Research, is leading a project examining the efficacy of the team’s DNA-based Hepatitis C vaccine.
If successful, the vaccine could be used for both prevention and treatment of the disease.
“We aim to develop a safe, effective and thermo-stable Hepatitis C vaccine that will protect people against this harmful virus,” Dr Masavuli said.
“DNA vaccines are simple, inexpensive and stable at room temperature, simplifying handling and distribution – raising hopes that even developing countries can benefit from this type of vaccine.
“Importantly, we aim for the vaccine to protect against the different variants that circulate globally and are capable of re-infecting HCV patients.”
With much of this vaccine technology also able to be adapted to COVID-19 and other viruses we may face in the future, it is essential to continue support for this vital work! Thank you for supporting lifesaving research!
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