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November 6, 2019

Pakistan has second largest burden of Hepatitis C virus, say experts

Karachi

November 6, 2019

Pakistan has the second largest burden of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infection in the world with an estimated 8 to 10 million people chronically-infected persons with HCV.

It was discussed by experts at the 7th International Symposium-Cum-Training Course on Molecular Medicine and Drug Research held at the Dr Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), Karachi University, on Tuesday.

They said Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) was responsible for 600,000 deaths a year while 350,000 deaths were caused by the HCV infection.

Over 700 scientists, including 100 scientists from Turkey, Iran, Iraq, China, Egypt, Syria, Italy, Nigeria, Greece, USA, UK, Germany, France, Australia, Canada, Brazil, Sweden, New Zealand, Hungry, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Ethiopia, Sudan, Thailand, Oman, Cameron, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal, attended the event.

On the second day of the global event, Prof Dr Rafat A Siddiqui of the USA, while delivering a lecture on the health benefits of ginger, said ginger was one of the most widely used medicinal plants that was commonly used as a spice. In traditional medicine, ginger was used for some ailments, including vomiting, indigestion, muscular pain, joints pain and cold symptoms.

Talking about the production of ginger, he said that Netherland is the top exporter of ginger in the world, and Pakistan, despite being an agricultural country, was the top importer of ginger.

He mentioned that ginger roots also possessed lipid and glucose-lowering and anti-viral substances. Ginger also reduced symptoms of nausea and travel sickness, and ginger gums were available in the market to reduce travel sickness.

The German scientist, Prof Dr Bertram Flehmig, said that jaundice was old and widely spread disease throughout the world. He said that in 1963, Baruch Blumberg identified the HBV surface antigen and received a Nobel Prize in 1973.

Hepatitis was the destruction of hepatocytes of the liver, and yellow skin and eyes and dark urine were the prominent features of the infection. As many as 1.4 million people were affected by HAV worldwide, and it was responsible for around 10,000 to 30000 deaths each year. HAV and HEV prevalence was 70 to 80 per cent among people who were less than 14 years of age, he said.

Prof Dr Darakhshan Jabeen Haleem of the Dr Panjwani Centre, during her lecture about chronic pain and depression, said that there was a connection between chronic pain and depression. The association of chronic pain and depression was becoming increasingly recognised, and pointed out that treating both the conditions together was essential for an effective treatment outcome. It was important to identify a shared mechanism involved in the association of chronic pain with depression, she asserted.

Many national and international scientists, including British scholar Dr Mark C Field, Italian scientist Luciana Dini, Australian scientist Barry N Noller and Brazilian scholar Dr Bartira Rossi Bergmann, delivered lectures. A poster competition was also held at the end of the second day of the symposium.

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