CDC Recommends Hepatitis C Testing for All Baby Boomers

by Jon Cohen on 17 August 2012, 3:09 PM (Original Source)

On top of rock ‘n’ roll, drugs, sexual liberation, and shaggy hair, the baby boomers can also lay claim to the hepatitis C virus (HCV) as a defining feature of their generation. Areport issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today recommends that all Americans born between 1945 and 1965 receive an HCV test.

Link to CDC Report:

An estimated 2.7 million to 3.9 million people in the United States are infected with this liver-damaging—and sometimes lethal—virus. CDC calculates that roughly 75% of the infected population comes from the baby boomer generation: 3.25% of people born in that “birth cohort” test positive for HCV, which is five times higher than adults born before 1945 or after 1965. Males are twice as likely to be infected as females, and the prevalence in black males (8.12%) far exceeds that in white (4.05%) and Mexican-American males (3.41%).

“We don’t think every [baby boomer] needs to run out and see their primary care provider and get tested immediately, but they shouldn’t put this off for years either,” says CDC’s Bryce Smith, a social scientist who is the lead author of the recommendations published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. “The sooner it can happen, the more lives we’ll be able to save.”

There are many unknowns about HCV, from its routes of transmission to its epidemiology. HCV wasn’t identified until 1988, and the surveillance system for the virus remains far less robust than the one that tracks HIV infection in the country. Still, CDC estimates that during the 1980s, the virus infected an average of 230,000 Americans each year. It mainly spread through contaminated blood and blood products; injecting drug users, transplant recipients, and hemophiliacs were the hardest hit. The virus causes cirrhosis in about 20% of the people infected for longer than 20 years—many need liver transplants to survive—and it’s the leading cause of liver cancer in this country. Toxic and expensive drug treatments have cured the infection in a small percentage of infected people, but new, powerful, and safer antivirals have recently come to market that promise to have a much broader impact. There is no HCV vaccine.

Several factors led to a steep drop in cases after 1992, the year an HCV blood test was introduced. The blood test virtually eliminated spread through transfusions and blood products. Injecting drug users also saw declining new infection rates because the virus had “saturated” that population, and because, in the wake of the booming HIV epidemic, many communities began needle and syringe exchange programs to make injection safer. In 2010, the estimated number of new infections in the United States was only 17,000.

As Smith and colleagues explain in the report, studies have shown that 45% to 85% of HCV-infected people in the United States do not know they carry the virus. An estimated 45% of people who learn they are infected report no known risk factor for acquiring HCV. “People just don’t know the various ways they might be able to acquire hepatitis C, and that’s really the point of just testing everyone in that [baby boomer] birth cohort,” Smith says. “It’s worth acknowledging that all of these exposures happened in the ’70s and ’80s, and memories may not be that good.”

HCV can live outside the body for a week—HIV, in contrast, dies within minutes—which means that transmission can readily occur by sharing a toothbrush, razor blade, or a straw to snort drugs. “Hepatitis C is a very hardy virus,” Smith notes. Transmission can also occur from infected mother to child and unsterile tattoo needles. Researchers still debate the importance of sexual transmission, although people who report having had more than 20 partners have a 4.5-fold increased risk. “We’re not sure if it’s due to the sexual behavior itself or if it’s a proxy for other behaviors,” Smith says.

CDC evaluated several birth cohorts over the past 4 years and determined that universal testing of baby boomers was the most cost-effective strategy for detecting undiagnosed HCV infections in the United States. Models predict that in the absence of improved testing and treatment, over the next 40 to 50 years, nearly 2 million Americans will develop cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma will afflict 400,000 others, and HCV-related complications will kill about 1 million people.

Until 2011, HCV treatment relied on alpha-interferon and ribavirin, drugs that have serious side effects and work by indirect and somewhat fuzzy mechanisms. That year, two protease inhibitors came to market that directly attack the virus, and cure rates have doubled in infected people who have used them. Ongoing clinical trials with 20 other so-called direct-acting antivirals have had even more impressive results against HCV, and researchers have high hopes that curing this devastating disease will become routine—but only if people know they are infected and seek treatment.

Tissue Says Blood Is Misleading, Confusing HIV Cure Efforts

Read the PDF from – Tissue Says Blood Is Misleading, Confusing HIV Cure Efforts


Following Article by Jon Cohen

Three back-to-back talks at a meeting earlier this month provided fresh insights into why HIV is so difficult to eliminate from the body: Even when antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) knock down HIV to undetectable levels in blood, the virus remains active in tissues. Sparked in part by the apparent cure of the “Berlin patient,” many of those attending the meeting are exploring ways to seek out and destroy the tiny amounts of HIV left in the bodies of people who take powerful ARVs. The main obstacle to a cure is that reservoirs of cells that harbor latent HIV still persist.

Triumph Over Hepatitis C – podcasts

The Real Time PCR test for Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) viral load has been available for quite a number of years. The detection limit was 60 IU/mL, and later was lowered to 30 IU/mL or so. The detection limit at 12 IU/mL is certainly desirable as long as the cost stays the same or lower.

HCV replicates extremely rapidly. Theoretically, one live HCV virus can replicate itself into one trillion viral particles in a day. It would be nearly impossible to kill all HCV in one’s body with the existing FDA-approved antivirals, including the new protease inhibitors. We need to also rely on our immune system to contain and eventually eradicate the HCV invaders from our body, including the undiscovered hiden areas in the boldy, like lymphatic nodes.

I plans to collaborate with the manufacturers of protease inhibitors to incorporate HepC Herba™ and P-10 Herba™ with their protease inhibitors in combination with the interferon and ribavirin combination treatments to help people with HCV infections, including those who have chronic hepatitis C and HCV carriers. The use of HepC Herba™ and P-10 Herba™ shall help enhance the containment of the viruses at potential undetectable levels through long-term maintenance usages once the virus has been controlled mostly and quickly through the protease inhibitors. HepC Herba™ and P-10 Herba™ can also protect the liver, restore and maintain normal liver function possibly throughout the natural life expectancy, and avert most of the severe adverse side effects from the protease inhibitors and interferon and ribavirin combination treatments.

Our Taiji for Chronic Pain Management Workshop program using taiji chuan and neigong relaxation exercise and meditation may have a very good chance to help on the depression and suicidal tendance adverse side effects from the conventional antiviral drug treatments. We now may have a good chance toward a cure or at least quasi cure for the chronic hepatitis C patients and the HCV carriers. I will raise funds to do the work towards this goal.

You are welcome to spread the news and my e-mail to all your contacts who have HCV infection, either with chronic hepatitis C or being the HCV carriers. They are welcome to send in their inquiries and questions to me directly through the e-mails or letters or through you. Good luck!

Sincerely, Shie-Ming Hwang, Ph.D.



Letter – Location of Certain Hwang-Patent Info on Ecotropic Murine Leukemia Virus (EMLV)

Dear Mr. Tibbs: July 18th, 2010

The pre-formulations used for the development of HepC Herba™ had been tested against a murine retrovirus and were found to be active against Ecotropic Murine Leukemia Virus (EMLV) in vitro before they were tested active against HIV-1 exo vivo.

Please see the U.S. Patent 5,989,556, Example 4, Table 2 on page 23.

HepC Herba™ has also been found to help those who have chronic fatigue from chronic hepatitis C and mononucleosis from Epstein-Barr virus infection. Those who took HepC Herba™ generally have more energy after two weeks of taking the formulation three times a day orally like drinking a coffee.


Shie-Ming Hwang, Ph.D.

Letter – Detection of an Infectious Retrovirus, XMRV, in Blood Cells of Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Dear Mr. Tibbs:


Please contact Dr. Judy A. Mikovits, the senior author of the article, at the Whittemore Peterson Institute, Reno, NV, through her e-mail at I would suggest her to look into the sensitivity of the XMRV (xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus) Assay among the laboratories who showed contradictory results for the detection of XMRV in CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) patients’ samples.

To confirm her discovery of the linkage between XMRV and CFS, she needs to demonstrate the decrease or eradication of XMRV in CFS patients before and after recovery from their CFS. HepC Herba’s herbal ingredients in their other combinations with other herbal ingredients had been shown to be active against Ecotropic Murine Leukemia Virus (EMLV). HepC Herba™ itself had also been shown to help those with chronic hepatitis C along with chronic fatigue to feel with more energy in two to three weeks of taking the product.

I suggest Dr. Mikovits or some scientist(s) to conduct a clinical research using HepC Herba™ to treat people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS) for one to two months, and follow the assay of their peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) for XMRV levels in conjunction with their recovery or partial recovery from CFS or CFIDS in two to four weeks (past experience). A parallel control study with healthy people should also be conducted for comparison.

This should settle the contradictory findings. This study may also help those with prostate cancer or prevent prostate cancer from XMRV, since it had been shown that XMRV could infect human cells and had previously been linked to prostate cancer.

I am planning to organize a research team to respond to the NIH’s Martin Delaney Collaboratory: Towards an HIV-1 Cure (U19). The Letter of Intent is due October 4, 2010. The Application is due November 4, 2010. The Funds available is $8.5M for fiscal year 2011 for 1-2 awards. Direct cost may range from $3 to 5 million per year for up to five years, i.e., $15 to 25 millions total for five years. More funds may be available when needed and can be justified.

The Collaborative Agreement requires two research projects and one administrative core. A research core is optional if needed. An education and research institute and a private sector are required in the collaborative agreement. One of them shall function as the primary applicant. Sage R&D can function as the primary applicant and collaborate with a university or a medical center with HIV/AIDS research program.

One research project I am considering is a basic research to study the immune response of HepC Herba™ or P-10 Herba™, and their combination. Another research project shall be a clinical research on using HepC Herba™, with or without P-10 Herba™, for treating HIV/AIDS patients with conventional antiretroviral combination therapy to see if the use of HepC Herba™ or in combination with P-10 Herba™ would: (1) alleviate the severe adverse side effects of the combination antiretroviral therapy, (2) protect the liver from the damaging effect of the antiretroviral drugs for long-term use, (3) sustain the undetectable viral load on the long-term basis to replace the much less tolerable, much less compliable, and much more costly antiretroviral combination therapy, and (4) prevent or treat HIV-AIDS related complications. This shall constitute a partial cure, if not the complete cure, to the HIV-1 problem.

I am considering to have you get involved in the core administration on the “Towards an HIV-1 Cure Collaborative Agreement with NIH” to assist me to pull the research team together and manage the supply of the HepC Herb™ and P-10 Herba™ to the researchers as needed. You are also authorized to contact Dr. Judy A. Mikovits and other researchers and venture capitalists or foundations on the potential collaboration and funding or venture for CFS or CFIDS and Prostate Cancer prevention and treatment. Please let me know. Thanks for your continuing support.


Shie-Ming Hwang, Ph.D.

Letter – To SMH … Hepatitis and Liver Cancer: A National Strategy for Prevention & Control of Hepatitis B and C

Dear Mr. Tibbs:

Thanks for the information. We already know the linkage between chronic hepatitis B and chronic hepatitis C and the liver cancer. HepC Herba™ has been shown to help restore the liver function, reverse liver cirrhosis possibly through liver regeneration by itself while modulate the chronic inflammation of the liver and stop the progression of the chronic liver inflammation disease. I expect HepC Herba™ would help prevent liver cancer by calming down the chronic liver inflammation which can lead to deadly liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.

However, the presence of the hepatitis B virus or hepatitis C virus alone in the liver, for those who are the carriers, can still lead to liver cancer. HepC Herba™ has been shown to reduce the viral load in people with chronic hepatitis C. We still do not know how low the viral load should be so the presence of the virus would not lead to liver cancer. A retroactive research is needed to review the viral load of chronic hepatitis C patients who had developed liver cancer as compared to those who had not. We need to find or encourage a scientist to apply for a NIH grant to do this.

For those carriers, they still need to be monitored periodically, say every 4 to 6 months, for potential development of chronic hepatitis or liver cancer. This can be done throught routine blood test for liver enzymes panel, including AST (SGOT), ALT (SGPT), alkaline phosphatase, and alpha-feto protein.

You may want to put my comment in your website in FAQ section.


Shie-Ming Hwang, Ph.D.