Sunday, April 13, 2014

New drugs cure hepatitis C

Originally published Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 7:02 PM


Twenty-five years after scientists identified the hepatitis C virus, doctors are declaring victory over an infection that afflicts more than 3 million Americans and kills more of them than HIV.

In a series of clinical-trial results, a new generation of antiviral medications was able to clear the liver-ravaging hepatitis C virus from virtually all patients’ bloodstreams in as little as eight weeks. The treatments, however, come with a steep price tag.

Los Angeles Times
In a series of clinical-trial results, a new generation of antiviral medications was able to clear the liver-ravaging virus from virtually all patients’ bloodstreams in as little as eight weeks. Even in patients with the most stubborn infections, the new drugs were capable of suppressing the virus completely at rates well over 90 percent. The treatments, however, come with a steep price tag.
The “sustained virologic responses” reported in the trials typically mean an infection has been permanently cleared. Only further research will establish that these cures will endure, averting an estimated 15,000 deaths a year from liver disease in the U.S. Worldwide, as many as 3 percent of people have the infection known as HCV.
The new medications are “a triumph of modern medical technology,” said Dr. Jeffrey Tice, a University of California, San Francisco, physician who was not involved in any of the clinical trials. Results were published Saturday in The New England Journal of Medicine.
In the treatment of chronic hepatitis C, achieving such success in so short a time, with relatively mild side effects and with a single pill daily, is without precedent. Until recently, physicians relied on two wide-spectrum antiviral medications — interferon and ribavirin — that required precise dosing over periods as long as 48 weeks.
Fewer than half of HCV patients are even eligible for that treatment, which comes with punishing side effects. And the regimen’s difficulties cause many to abandon it.
“It may now be possible to imagine the global eradication” of chronic hepatitis C, Harvard Medical School liver specialists Drs. Raymond Chung and Thomas Baumert wrote in The New England Journal of Medicine.
In the same way that antibiotics made victory over human bacterial infections possible in the 20th century, the new antiviral medications have “revolutionized” the treatment of hepatitis C, wrote Chung and Baumert, who were not involved in the trials. The drugs — some already approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), others now under consideration by the agency — offer “genuine prospects for the first comprehensive cure of a chronic viral infection in humans,” they wrote.
Among the nation’s baby boomers, the new medications are likely to avert hundreds of thousands of cases of liver cancer and substantially reduce the number of liver transplants.
Americans between ages 50 and 68 account for roughly 75 percent of HCV infections in the United States. While many contracted the virus through illicit drug use, an untold number of boomers are thought to have been infected by tainted blood transfusions before a test for the virus became available in 1992.
Even as health experts welcomed the trial results, they cautioned that widespread use of the new drugs would come at a steep price. A 12-week regimen of sofosbuvir — one of the medications in a proposed hepatitis C cocktail — costs $84,000, or about $1,000 per tablet. Treatment with simeprevir, another medication in the same class, can exceed $66,000.
At such prices, U.S. patients will have only limited access to the breakthrough drugs for some time to come, Tice said. The cost of treating even half of the Americans chronically infected with HCV would exceed the amount currently spent on all radiological imaging, said Tice, who helped assess the cost and accessibility of the new medications for the California Technology Assessment Forum.
Insurers will probably limit their use to patients with advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis of the liver, a group that represents about one-third of those infected with HCV in the U.S. Those patients are at the greatest risk of developing liver cancer or liver disease severe enough to require a liver transplant, conditions that are costly and time-consuming to treat.
In a welter of trial results announced at the International Liver Congress 2014 meeting in London that ends Sunday, medications with the chemical names ABT-450/ritonavir, ombitasvir, dasabuvir, ledipasvir and sofosbuvir were successful in bringing about sustained clearance of the hepatitis C virus in the wide range of subjects who took them.
In one of the trials, a combination of ledipasvir and sofosbuvir cleared the virus in 99 percent of patients after 12 weeks. When the drugs were given to patients with cirrhosis for whom previous treatments had failed, 24 weeks of therapy resulted in a virtually 100 percent success rate.
The trials also demonstrated that among patients infected with the stubborn genotype 1 hepatitis C, success rates were above 95 percent.
The new medications assessed in the latest trials were developed by Gilead Sciences of Foster City, Calif., and AbbVie of Chicago. The two drug companies paid for the trials.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Angst vor der Braunen

http://www.salon.com/2014/03/12/propaganda_lies_and_the_new_york_times_everything_you_really_need_to_know_about_ukraine/

A rare Saloon piece that veers towards objectivity in the service of Angst vor der braunen. It's the reverse of they live glasses, that are removed temporarily to view reality, in order to direct the readers' attention back towards Progress. It perfectly illustrates the weakness and internal illogic of the American side, and is especially effective in referring back to [CFR link] fault-line document, warning the Americans to stop their silly habits of following the advice of the CFR.

It really seems to validate the bionic mosquito's impression that the elite have shifted their support away from neocons, due to the danger posed by the stupidly antagonistic and expansionistic policies of the latter. Just as the threat of nuclear annihilation kept the PTB somewhat in check for fifty years, the threat of non-nuclear doomsday posed by setting the world on fire trying to selectively burn the third world underbrush, and managing with intent to destroy the only actual hard military power that can protect them from their own policies.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Two Quick and Easy Ukraine Solutions

Congratulations to Svoboda and friends for capturing the flag in Kviv! One hopes they can keep and expand their gains; my personal hope is for all international phoney boundaries to be redrawn and redivided to reflect actual ethno-national boundaries, as might be established after long and violent struggles, in a state of peace by exhaustion. I think this process will occur, at some variation of pace and violence, and Ukraine provides almost perfect lab-example. We need to provide a fast, but relatively non-violent solution to the question of legitimacy, or more to the point, legitimize the actual undisputed top-dog.

Boxing is much older and more proven than Ukrainian democracy, and a much less ugly and corrupt history. Indeed, boxing is practically uncorruptable compared to any other means of choosing leaders. Ladies and Germs, I propose a new (probably ancient if I know my Greeks) meme: Pugilocracy! I could only find one non-circular reference on google, an inactive blog, carabiner. But that was in another context, and I'm proposing not just that leaders be chosen by fair, unarmed combat, but that these guys fight each other in lieu of war, saving large fortunes in waste and opportunity costs, and the advertising revenue would be immense, probably making the whole enterprise self-financing.

1. Klitschko fights giant Russian MP, Nikolay Valuev* 

 This fight is actually a long standing proposal, pre-dating the current crisis.  I don't even care who gets what, (ideally Klitschko wins, he gets western Ukraine, loses, gets all Ukraine. Joking...) because they could sell the fight on world-wide television and make enough to buy Ukraine outright. The betting pool would  probably revive the European economy. America's too, if it were marketed right.

2. Run a boxing tournament open to all Ukrainians. Much local excitement. Klitschko wins anyway, Ukraine goes back to being West Virginia, and east-west problem remains. I guess I should have titled this A Kwic'nEasy Ukraine Solution. What's needed is a Ukrainian Don King, in the unlikely event there aren't dozens of them.

*I don't care for rap, and I've never watched three minutes of boxing at one time before, but this is a pretty kick-ass video, and now that guy is a member of Parliament. Democracy sometimes works

Saturday, March 1, 2014

One Pill Makes You Wider

I was going to open with a reference to Ambrose Bierce on God, Geography and the American people; a well-known and much referenced quote that like so much on the internet, turns out not to be true. Blogging turns out to be annoyingly difficult. I think in paragraphs, but I can only write in single characters. The paragraph loses it's middle and sometimes it's entire coherence in constructing the first phrase. But if I just tried to vomit the entire hairball at one time, and got something wrong in the first premise, then it's start over, patch up, or quit. This essay, so far, is a good example... [knocks over mic, spills water, feedback...]

I'm now like the bushman in the movie, clinging to the Only Known Truth, in his case a pepsi bottle dropped from a plane, in mine, the suspicion that much of the little that I know is actually wrong. I have a lot of things I believe provisionally, and only a handful of hardcore beliefs, so I'm never going to be an effective advocate for anything, but I can take note of anomalous bullshit and try to explain things in light of those few things of which I am sure e.g. neocons are liars, socialists are thieves, politics is corrupt, etc. Since all of these groups and many others are not going away, and in fact are quite successful so far in getting their way, it would seem to be irrational, indeed against the Stoic commandment to not waste one's energy on hopeless causes, to continue to even bitch about it. Maybe they just have information I'm not privy to.

But when I read about the antics of our Elite, in spite of my lack of full information, I don't get the impression of people competently serving the best interests of the voters and taxpayers, but rather a strong suspicion of systematic and across-the-board abuse of these groups to the advantage of favored clients. Libertarians for several generations have been asking nicely to please stop wrecking the world and making us pay for it; to no effect when in the past "they" would bother to lie and cover up, now they don't even bother pretending. In Justin Raimondo's Bizarro world the radical elite try to undermine and overthrow themselves while the conservative rabble work twice as hard to preserve what's left of the pre-post-modern civilization and vote in their own replacements. EUSSA becomes new Soviets; Russia becomes new bastion of Reaction.

How convenient for NRx to arise at just this period of polarity reversals. Future historians will regard Moldbug as a mirror image of what we think of Toqueville; bookends, really, marking the beginning and end of monoculture democracy. Unless the skins actually take over Western Ukraine; cause that would be awesome, especially if it spreads.

"Is your hate pure?"


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Daisey, Daisey, Give Me Your Answer, Do!

I just opted out of Google's social app (which I never asked to join). They asked me to tell them why...

Google is great, Search is amazing, however,
I never understood Google+; seems like a copy of Faceplant, which I detest,
both are swarming with morons, judging by the comments I've seen
I dislike cute animals and sunsets
  am long out of high-school
  a committed misanthrope
  have an IQ above room temperature
  am uninterested in anything social, especially media
  don't feel in control of the process or experience
  think we should "see" other people.
  am sorry.

"Open the pod bay door, HAL!"
"You know I can't do that, Dave. It would endanger the mission."

The only reason I can see for Google+, and why they're putting so much into it, is sophisticated phishing. If it's really on the level (or even if it isn't), they need to make it more coherent and explain whatever the benefits are to the user. I don't know how they could do that, but I'm not a billionaire genius.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

My Sweet Little Poochum-Woochums

(I dropped this comment on the Jewamongyou blog)
I can only comment on my own pit, [that's him in the picture to the right] that my daughter got as a puppy, and promptly turned over to me, because it is a major pain-in-the-tuchas, aside from the issue of aggression. Took over a year to housebreak while destroying every rug in the house, chewing and scratching and tearing through every barrier we put up. A professional may have been able to train him, but I wasn’t. I think there is definitely something to the comment above concerning breeding; this one came from a thug environment and would have been perfect in a junk yard. Fortunately for everyone we have a large fenced-in yard, but I feel terrible about my neighbors small children, and I have to be constantly alert to his whereabouts and keeping all doors closed at all times. He goes nuts when anyone comes to the door and will definitely attack, or at least try to intimidate any stranger. A lawsuit waiting to happen, but so far, so good, knock wood. I have to use muzzle and choke chain to take him to the vets.

With respect to his bite, before he got too fat, I used to have him grab a rope and swing him hard in circles, and I would tire before he would ever let go. When he was very small he once grabbed my T-shirt tail when I stooped down and just hung from my back for about a half hour. His upper palate is grooved such that I believe he could be just as tenacious without teeth. They were bred for grabbing a bull’s throat and never letting go. However he has never bitten anyone and gets along well with our other dogs, including a very small poodle. Submission is not optional, though.

Bottom line is he is far too unpredictable and requires constant vigilance, is not worth the effort or potential trouble, we can’t have any visitors unless we cage him while he barks and howls the entire time, he only respects me because I can slightly out-alpha him and he will always challenge anyway. I only have one friend that isn’t afraid of him and they get along fine. I’d get rid of him in a heart beat, except that I love him like a brother, g-d help me.

Jurisdictions are right to ban them, especially if the owners are not super-responsible, but even then Chaos lurks, and many, many are given up and very few of those are ever adopted. Breeders need to be more responsible, but that will never happen. If you want a dog, get a Lab.

Monday, January 13, 2014

This Guy I Know

A guy I know has had hepc since 1972, never any symptoms after first six months. drank oplenty till 1980 when his kid was born - hard to drink much and get up four times a nite  and go to work. They didn't even know about c until about 85, which is why so many were infected from transfusions and the like. Very common amongst our cohort, the wild generation, whooo! He was actually diagnosed from donating blood after they started testing it. Did interferon when it became available around 2000, didn't take, still no symptoms. When the doctor said to quit, no problem because he was already bored w/chili, but I heard it's not so easy for some folks. Now they have a sure cure, but I'm skeptical, waiting to see some realtime results, do not trust the medical system at all. Diet and exercise if he ever develops any willpower. He actually talks to his liver, "hang on, buddy, we're in this together".

This other guy, Dave, was legendary. Sometimes drink beer all night, no sleep and go to work at metro, fucking ironman, but lost all his friends and daughter. A rough road. He had some kind of childhood disease that was supposed to take him out so he just didn't give a shit. If you opened his box, right now, he'd tell you he didn't have a problem. stupid juice, like I said. Without booze the Irish would probably control the world instead of YNW.

I had read early on that regular daily drinking was worse than binging for the liver, takes about three days to clear the fat that causes cirrhosis, so I'd always knock off for a while, which is why I'm still around, but we both know it's because of the blessed virgin, maybe not, maybe she just feels a little guilty for letting the kid run wild. He would have made a good rabbi or at least a good carpenter, give her a lot of grandchildren,  but NO, he had to go fucking with the Sanhedrin mafia and hang with the hippies and skanks, couldn't stand no water and god forbid his no good friends go without loaves and fishes for one afternoon. Husband no help, always saying it didn't come from his side of the family. What's a mother to do?