PEI

New hepatitis C strategy working, says health minister

All 32 Islanders who have been given a new hepatitis C drug have tested negative for the virus at the end of their treatment, says P.E.I. Health Minister Doug Currie.

32 Islanders who have finished treatment have tested negative

P.E.I. Health Minister Doug Currie says a hepatitis C program that launched in the spring is proving successful. (CBC)

All 32 Islanders who have been given a new hepatitis C drug have tested negative for the virus at the end of their treatment, says P.E.I. Health Minister Doug Currie.

Currie announced the new $5-million drug program this spring.

"These positive early results bode well for Island patients and our ability to significantly reduce the spread of this highly infectious disease in our province," said Currie in a news release.

The drug Holkira Pak that's used in the program boasts a cure rate of at least 95 per cent and few or no side effects.

Patients take the drug for 24 weeks and receive education, treatment and support at hepatitis clinics in Charlottetown and Summerside.

The 32 patients will be retested in October, 12 weeks after their final treatment to ensure the virus hasn't returned.

More than 400 Islanders are known to be infected with hepatitis C.

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