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Research Shows Australia Could Eliminate Hepatitis as Early As 2026

What Is this New Research?

The Kirby Institute is a health organization located in Australia. They recently reported that, in the first year of new generation hepatitis C protocols, more Australians were treated for hepatitis C infections than had been treated in the entire past decade. This new generation regimen is called direct acting antiviral (DAA) medications. In 2016, more than 30,000 Australian residents were treated and cured. Before 2016, the rate was approximately 2500 residents. This is the biggest increase worldwide and it means there are even more patients who have completed the drug protocols allowing even more research subjects available as well as increased anecdotal data that the drug treatments are effective, that they are relatively easy for patients, and that people are becoming more aware of their infection and getting proper treatment for it. In addition, as the rates of hepatitis C continue to decrease, it also means a decreased rate of people with liver disease and those in need of liver transplants. Plus, this means that there is a significant likelihood that Australia as a country may be completely rid of hepatitis C within the next ten years.

Why Does It Mean A 2026 Date of Elimination?

This means that, in Australia, there may be zero cases of Australian residents with hepatitis C. This is based on the increase in patients being tested and in being treated in 2016. In addition, as more general practitioners test and treat their patients for hepatitis C, there is a growing number of doctors available who are educated on the symptoms of the virus and who are able to provide the medical care that a patient may need, without them requiring a referral to a specialist, which can cost extra money or take longer for the patient to be properly tested or to begin treatment.

Australia happens to be an island and its own nation, which means that the government can choose to require additional testing or other information provided before a person can enter their country. This has not been discussed as of yet but if the country becomes completely rid of hepatitis C, the nation may choose to take steps to try to prevent visitors or immigrants from reintroducing the virus into the native population. In addition, as the residents of Australia are separated from other nations due to geographical location, if/when Australia becomes free of hepatitis C, additional research studies may be available within the country, which can benefit other nations.

What Does This Mean For Me?

For people who do not currently have hepatitis C, this may appear to mean very little. However, as the virus can create long-term or permanent damage in the bodies of those who become infected, it is likely that every person has a loved one who has or has had hepatitis C. In addition, a decrease in hepatitis C means a decreased number of patients who need liver transplants. This would then free these donated livers up for patients who need them for other reasons, which benefits the medical world overall.

For those who do currently have hepatitis C, this may prove to be more of an emotional result than something that impacts your daily life. This is because the drug protocol to rid the body of hepatitis C is typically 12 weeks, which means that anyone currently aware that they have hepatitis C will likely be long past their experience with anti-viral medications before 2026. However, after receiving a positive test result, many patients find themselves more interested and invested in learning about hepatitis C and how it impacts their community and the world overall. It may bring a sense of pride or relief to hear that one large country is finding new ways to prevent and cure the virus within their own borders.

For those who love someone with hepatitis C, this information may feel very far into the future when they are focused on the health of their loved one right now. This news may cause a feeling of desire to join in the process of ridding the world of hepatitis C in order to prevent others’ loved ones from going through the diagnostic and treatment processes. In these cases, a person can contact their local hospital or clinic and offer to volunteer or to provide a financial donation toward the fight against hepatitis C. They can also contact their local, state, and federal political representatives to make sure that they are aware of what work Australia is doing and to encourage politicians to consider hepatitis C diagnostics and treatment when debating future health care budgets or when deciding whether to allocate additional funding to local clinics and hospitals.1

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Latest research shows Australia on track to cure hep C | UNSW - The Kirby Institute for infection and immunity in society. (2017). Retrieved 1 April 2017, from