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FDA Approves New Drug To Treat Hepatitis C

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The Federal Drug Administration has approved a new drug to treat hepatitis C. The medical breakthrough could change the lives of hundreds of North Texans diagnosed with the viral disease that leads to inflammation of the liver.

Harold Bowles, 58, is one of them. He contracted hepatitis C from a blood transfusion years ago.

Just months ago Bowles was extremely ill due to the virus. “I was so sick at the time I couldn’t get out of the bed hardly,” said Bowles, whose skin turned orange, too. Hepatitis C was destroying the his liver. Bowles was in serious need of a transplant.

Days spent with his wife and six beloved grandchildren on their ranch outside of Denton was a thing of the past. He was simply too ill to do much of anything at the time. That is, until a doctor reached out to them from Baylor Hospital in Dallas. He told them about Sofosbuvir (brand name Sovaldi), a nucleotide analog inhibitor that blocks a protein the hepatitis C virus needs to replicate. The pill removes the deadly virus from the body in only a few months. Bowles’ trial run with the drug was a success.

“It’s not often we hear about a cure for fatal disease but that’s exactly what this little pill is and it’s changing the lives of families like this one,” said Baylor Liver Transplant Director, Dr. James Trotter.

Some of the research and trials of Solvadi were conducted in North Texas. The treatment is expensive, but insurance companies are approving it since a liver transplant is even more costly.

“It’s a new day for hepatitis C, we’re going to be able to cure most patients who have this,” said Trotter.

Bowles now spends more time teaching his grandchildren how to work on the farm than in a hospital bed.

“I want to watch them grow up,” said Bowles. “I’ve got a new one… just found out today my seventh one is on its way.”

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