After years of believing it was almost extinct, this disease is rebounding nationwide
Dr. Manuel Rodríguez García (digestive system specialist at
HUCA), warned in a Health article that
hepatitis D is on the rise In Spain.
For years, this disease has had a great impact at the national level. In the 1990s, it affected the
20% of patients suffering from a chronic infection with the hepatitis B virus. Today, after being considered virtually extinct, it has experienced a
Previously, the profile of those infected varied between those who had been infected by the consumption of a drug injected intravenously or by a blood transfusion contaminated with the two viruses (hepatitis B and D). Thanks to the reforms, to greater vigilance in this type of transfusion and to an improvement in the application of vaccines, the level of infections has decreased exponentially until it has fallen to acceptable minima.
Immigration as one of the main causes
According to Rodríguez García, the immigration of
parts of sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe is one of the main causes of this upward trend. He says this is because these are “areas where hepatitis D still has a high prevalence. However, as confirmed by the expert, the most affected are among the young population, first among men and then among women.
For this reason, the specialist considers essential the mandatory search and identification of the Delta virus in patients with chronic hepatitis. “The experts
we have to be vigilant“, he argued.
Lack of resources for treatment
We must not forget that within the viral family that forms hepatitis, class C is
most misunderstood of all. This, according to Rodríiguez García, is the second main cause of the reactivation of the disease: the lack of means for its treatment. “Unlike hepatitis B and C, in D
there are no treatment options with an acceptable response ratewhich worsens the prognosis of the disease and patients who suffer from it have a higher risk of suffering from cirrhosis or liver cancer“
Currently, the only drug available in Spain for the treatment of hepatitis D is
interferon. However, it is not considered to be very effective as it only manages to suppress virality in a few cases.
Fortunately, the research and search for new solutions never stops. Thanks to this, new pharmacological advances have been discovered for the treatment of the disease, some of which are quite effective. This is the case of the recent discovery
This drug is an antiviral that already has the approval of the
EMA (European Medicines Agency in English) and with her American sister, the
FDA (Food and Drug Administration). However, it has not yet been accepted by the Spanish branch: the
AEMPS (Spanish Medicines and Health Products Agency).
This has been harshly criticized by Dr. Rodríguez García, who considers
vital importance that “new treatment options for hepatitis D be approved”.