Today marks World Hepatitis Day! Every year on, July 28th marks the day to remember a disease that has ravaged our population for decades.
What is Hepatitis?
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. The Liver is an organ that processes nutrients, filters the blood, and fights infections. Hepatitis can be caused by a group of 5 viruses, namely, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis D, and Hepatitis E.
There was a time when the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) had no cure, and when one got it, it felt like a death sentence. All the doctors could do was manage the symptoms.
Symptoms of Hepatitis C:
Acute Hepatitis C usually goes undiagnosed because it rarely causes symptoms. When signs and symptoms are present, they may include jaundice, along with fatigue, nausea, fever, and muscle aches. Acute symptoms appear one to three months after exposure to the virus and last two weeks to three months. However, it is important to note that Acute Hepatitis C does not always become chronic.
Reason for Celebration
On May 13, 2011, people living with Hepatitis C got a miracle, a reason to celebrate. The FDA approved an Anti-HCV drug known as VictrelisTM, also known as Boceprevir or SCH 503034, as the first-in-class therapy for Hepatitis C Treatment.
The drug was discovered by Dr. George Njoroge, a former director in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at Merck Research Laboratories. He oversaw the chemistry program on the infectious diseases platform. Through Dr. Njoroge’s research leadership at Merck, VictrelisTM was discovered, and he later led his Chemistry team in the discovery of the second-generation HCV protease inhibitor NarlaprevirR that has completed Phase 2b Clinical Trials and is currently in use in Russia as Arlansa.
About the scientist
Dr. George Njoroge is a man of many hats. He is a member of the Board of Directors as well as the Committee Chair of Research and Innovation at KEMRI, a Board Member of KCA University, and the Chairman of Council, Daystar University. He is also the Chief Scientific Advisor at Kenyatta University Teaching Referral and Research Hospital (KUTRRH). Dr. Njoroge is a graduate of the University of Nairobi, 1st class honours, in Organic Chemistry. He earned a scholarship to Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), where pursued his Masters and PhD.
Kenyatta University Teaching Referral and Research Hospital (KUTRRH) is a Level 6 Hospital with a 650-bed capacity. Its Flagship service is Oncology (Cancer), which has excelled in diagnosis, treatment, and research. As the Chief Scientific Advisor for KUTRRH, Dr. Njoroge is currently leading research initiatives in esophageal cancer in collaboration with the University of Manchester and the Christie Foundation, among others.
By Derrek Mwathi – Communications & Marketing