12 March 2017
Professor Ed Gane’s dedicated and innovative work has contributed to the development of a cure for Hepatitis C, a life-threatening disease that currently affects over 50,000 New Zealanders as well as many millions of people worldwide.
Hepatitis C is a devastating liver disease that affects four times as many people globally (150-170 million) as HIV/AIDS (37 million). There is no vaccine and up until recently, there has been no safe or effective treatment.
Professor Gane believed a combination of new oral anti-virals held the key to successful treatment. For a number of years, Professor Gane supervised meticulous drug trials on Kiwi volunteers with chronic hepatitis C. He trialed various combinations of different anti- virals until he finally got the results he was looking for.
Thanks to Professor Gane and his international colleagues’ innovative work and perseverance, almost everyone with hepatitis C can now be cured with a short course of tablets. The World Health Organisation recently announced that more than one million people have already been cured with these new drugs and that global eradication of hepatitis C should now be achievable within the next 30 years.
This outstanding advance in the treatment of hepatitis C will have a future global impact at a similar scale that the Polio vaccine developed by Jonas Salk has had since 1955.