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Currently, there are more than 100,000 candidates on the waiting list for a kidney transplantation. Yet, more than 500 hepatitis C-positive kidneys from organ donors are discarded each year in the U.S. due to the risk they may pose to candidates without the virus. To better utilize these kidneys for transplantation and saving lives, scientists from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine evaluated the feasibility of transplanting them into non-hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected recipients.
This study took advantage of two new antivirals available on the market, grazoprevir/elbasvir, which cure more than 95% of all hepatitis C patients and lead to few side-effects. The researchers recruited 10 non-HCV infected candidates, who are more than 50 years old and do not have available living donors. All recipients received a dose of grazoprevir/elbasvir before the transplantation and continued administration of these antivirals till 12 weeks after the transplantation. Study results show that all 10 participants was HCV free 12 weeks after transplantation and no adverse effects was observed related to the antivirals. Despite the limited sample size of this study, it still demonstrated how we can turn these 500 “ready to discard” kidneys into life-saving ones.
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