Scrapbook-inspired test makes diagnosis more accessible
Two new hepatitis C treatments, approved late last year by the Food and Drug Administration and boasting a 95 percent cure rate, are a boon to patients diagnosed with the disease. But what of the millions of folks who have the virus but don’t know it? An estimated 75 percent of people living with hepatitis C don’t know they are infected.
The medical community has called for all baby boomers to be tested, but testing for hepatitis C, a blood-borne pathogen that can cause liver damage, cancer and even death and now kills more Americans than HIV, is expensive and time consuming. An initial screening and a second test for confirmation means many people can’t or won’t return for follow-up.
Scientists from the American Chemical Society may have discovered a solution. By applying recently developed inexpensive paper-based medical technologies to hepatitis C screening—they cut shapes from special paper and added antigens, antibodies and chemicals to test patient samples—the scientists can conduct both diagnostic tests simultaneously. No second office visit and less cost? Winning!