Health: Counterattack

Alpha-interferon becomes the first treatment for hepatitis C

When it comes to hepatitis, doctors, like children, must learn their ABCs. As they have long been taught, the liver-destroying disease is caused by two distinct viruses, known as A and B. But many patients show no signs of having been exposed to either virus. Earlier this year scientists took a significant step toward solving the riddle of non-A, non-B hepatitis by moving on down the alphabet. They identified a third virus that produces hepatitis and called it type C. Last week researchers announced another milestone: the first effective therapy for hepatitis C.

Reporting in the New England Journal of Medicine,...

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