Hadeesa Amanat, Azka Shahzad Mir and Sikander Ali*
Hepatitis C is spreading rapidly over the globe. It is a disease that affects the liver. It is caused by a virus which belongs to the virus family Flaviviridae and genus Hepacivirus. There is mild attack of hepatitis in the initial stage. But if it remains untreated then it can lead to hepatocellular cancer. This review summarizes the recent findings and developments on HCV; its life cycle, pathogenecity, transmission routes, clinical presentations, diagnosis and treatments. The main transmission route is blood and some others include contact with an affected person‟s faeces, any contact with contaminated medical equipments and sexual contact (but this is controversial). Symptoms of HCV are numerous and often don‟t appear in the early stages. The first symptom after the HCV infection is the inflammation of the liver. Many inflammatory cells and mediators are found in the liver at this stage and can be detected. Techniques for the diagnosis of HCV covered in this article are HCV core antigen assay, nucleic acid testing and genotyping of HCV. A number of drugs are used for the treatment of HCV infection e.g. pegylated interferon alpha and ribavirin and also several combinations, but if the disease has progressed then the last stage treatment is liver transplant, in which the diseased liver is replaced by a healthy one from an alive or deceased donor. But it is difficult to find a person whose liver tissue matches with the patient‟s. Even after these treatments, the patient‟s survival is still not guaranteed because a number of times the recurrence of infection is observed.
Keywords: Hepatitis C, Flaviviridae, Hepacivirus, Life cycle, Pathogenicity, Diagnosis, Treatment.
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