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Egyptian scientists develop new, low-cost hepatitis-C drug

Egyptian medical researchers have announced an apparent scientific breakthrough in the treatment of hepatitis-C, in the form of a medicine called Ravidasvir, which they say treats genotype 4 of the virus at a low cost to consumers.

According to the Youm7 news website, the new drug has been tested on 300 patients in Egypt, and is due for tests on other genotypes in Asia.

The new drug was announced at the annual conference of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL), held in Barcelona on April 14-17.

The drug was developed by under the supervision of Egypt's Health Ministry by medical research scientists Gamal Essmat, Imam Waked and Mayssa al-Razaqy.

In remarks to Youm7 newspaper, Dr Sherine Helmy, chief executive of the pharmaceutical company producing the medicine, said an agreement has already been reached to conduct further trials.

In co-operation with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDI), 1,000 patients in Malaysia and Thailand will take part in tests for different genotypes of the virus, including the first, second, third, fifth and sixth genotypes.

Helmy said the new drug would cost US$3.5 a day, with a complete course of treatment extending over 84 days, or 12 weeks, costing a total of $300.

Helmy expressed hope that, through coordination with the DNDI, Egypt would be able to provide the world with a safe and effective drug to treat hepatitis-C.

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