Francis Collins Wants to Eliminate Hepatitis C

The Christian doctor and researcher sees a “moral imperative” in destroying a curable fatal illness. Other countries are on track to erase it, but not the United States.

Francis Collins, the former longtime head of the National Institutes of Health and founder of BioLogos, has seen deaths in his work as a physician and researcher. But some of those have been personal: He watched his brother-in-law die a slow and painful death from complications of hepatitis C, an often fatal disease that attacks the liver. Rick Boterf died two years before the cure for hepatitis C became available in 2014.

In the decade since the cure has become available, most Americans diagnosed with hepatitis C have not received the cure. Collins is now spearheading a push from the Biden administration to eliminate the disease by funding more treatment to populations that may not currently have any access. The measure is awaiting a budget score that will forecast its future in Congress.

“It’s difficult to appreciate how serious and dangerous this viral illness is, because most infected people will live without any symptoms for a decade or more,” Collins told CT. Those suffering from the disease tend to be drug users and those who are incarcerated. Infections have increased in the last decade with the explosion of the drug crisis.

“Reaching those with hepatitis C fits with our responsibility to help vulnerable and marginalized people that Jesus called ‘the least of these,’” Collins added. “Curing hepatitis C is almost a moral imperative—the opportunity in our hands to prevent 15,000 deaths every year.”

More than 2.4 million Americans have hepatitis C, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but there haven’t been the funds and systems to make the oral pill cure widely available. Only 34 percent of Americans diagnosed from 2013 to 2022 were …

Continue reading

Read More

This post was originally published on this site

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.