Unitaid celebrates progress against hepatitis C through simpler medicines and tests

July 29th, 2020

Published: July 29th, 2020

Geneva – On the occasion of World Hepatitis Day, Unitaid celebrates the progress made in the fight against Hepatitis C in the past few years. Notably, thanks to quality medicines and tests that are simpler to administer, affordable and adapted to the needs of people in low- and middle-income countries.

Close to 400,000 people continue dying of Hepatitis C globally each year. Antiviral medicines can cure more than 95 percent of people with the infection, but access to diagnosis and treatment has typically been low. Less than a decade ago, Hepatitis C was difficult and expensive to treat even in high-income countries, and new medicines where out of reach for people in lower-income countries.

Since 2015, Unitaid-supported investments have successfully developed simpler and more affordable ways to diagnose and treat Hepatitis C in order to advance the 2030 elimination targets. Now, a full treatment course can cost less than US$ 100, down from an initial price of more than US$ 50,000.

“Our efforts have found innovative ways to deliver Hepatitis C medicines and tests in simpler, more affordable ways, demonstrating it is feasible to deploy them on a large scale in lower-income countries. We are proud to be powering this transformation, improving access to the best tools and accelerating progress towards a hepatitis-free world”, said Unitaid Executive Director a.i., Philippe Duneton. “We also hope our work will lead countries to invest in the fight against this global health challenge.”

As part of its work on Hepatitis C, Unitaid has partnered with a wide range of stakeholders, notably Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), FIND, Coalition Plus, WHO’s Prequalification Programme and the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP).

Today, an estimated 71 million people suffer from chronic infection with the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) worldwide, but only 20 percent have been diagnosed and only 4 percent are treated. In the next decade, Hepatitis C can be beaten by widely deploying the better medicines, tests and processes now available.

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