Hepatitis C study to be led by East End researchers

A STUDY to promote research into the deadly infection Hepatitis C is being led by an East London medical team.

Researchers at Barts and the London Medical School have won �2million of funding to create a database of 10,000 patients infected with the illness, in a bid to find new ways of tackling it.

Around a quarter of a million people have Hepatitis C in the UK.

It is ten times easier to contract than HIV and causes severe liver damage in a fifth of sufferers.

Professor Graham Foster will be leading other teams across the UK in the trial, which is funded by charity The Medical Research Foundation.

He said: “Rates of Hepatitis C are rising and it’s a major cause of illness and death in the UK.

“The creation of this database will have a major impact on research and will ultimately improve the treatments for patients.”

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While there has been progress in the scientific understanding of the virus, it is very hard to track its spread and understand its biological roots.

Some patients have symptoms as soon as they are infected, while others only go onto develop cirrhosis of the liver after many years.

Not everyone responds to treatment and that will be another focus of the study.