New research has found a possible origin for the Hepatitis C virus (HCV, or Hep C): dogs. Many viruses are known to come from animals, such as the notorious SARS which afflicted Asia a few years ago, but now scientists have found a cousin virus to human’s hep c, Canine Hepacivirus (CHV).
The virus was found when scientists were studying respiratory illnesses in dogs; common among many who were tested, when ran through a database it came up as bearing a resemblance to the human virus Hep C, which infects the liver. They estimate that the two Hep C diseases split from each other between 500 and 1000 years ago.
Not all scientists agree the Hep C came from man’s best friend. It’s possible that both Hepatitis C and it’s canine cousin came from another animal. Scientists do agree that this new discovery may help them learn more about Hep C which could lead to new Hepatitis C treatments.
The origin of Hep C (which was already guessed at being animal) has been a mystery that scientists have been eager to solve as they study Hepatitis C. More research will test dogs in other countries, and may lead to other animals with Hep C like viruses.
There is a current call being made for more research into Hepatitis C infections. It’s estimated that the majority of those infected with Hep C have no idea. You can do your part by raising awareness about the disease: telling people you know, emailing this article (or other articles) to a friend and sharing on Facebook and Twitter are great ways to let people know about Hep C and other health issues!
What do you think of the current state of Hep C research and treatment options?