Hepatitis C virus is a curable infectious disease, but treatment remains unavailable in resource-limited settings like the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The DRC Ministry of Health asked the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to help determine the burden of infection and find a way to connect people infected with the virus to treatment. Using laboratory equipment readily available in developing countries, researchers from UNC and Abbott Diagnostics were able to define and map the burden of disease in the DRC. Their findings were published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.
“Many people suffering from hepatitis C remain undiagnosed and untreated, despite the advent of highly effective antiviral medications,” said Jonathan Parr, the study’s lead author and a researcher within UNC’s Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Ecology Lab. “We used a simple, high throughput testing approach to map hepatitis C infections throughout the DRC. We showed that a single drop of blood collected by fingerprick can be used to identify candidates for treatment and to assess the burden of disease in resource-limited settings.”
Read more on the School of Medicine website.