Hepatitis A is an ancient viral disease, and is common in under-developed regions - such as sub-Saharan Africa - where half of all children are likely to be infected before the age of five. There is currently no specific therapy for the treatment of Hepatitis A.
Researchers from the University of North Carolina, School of Medicine, USA, used an oral drug (RG7834), which was originally tested in humans for Hepatits B - although animal studies suggested it may be too toxic for use over long periods of time.
Focusing on the fact that in order to survive the Hepatitis A virus needs to keep replicating, the scientists discovered that RG7834 can stop the replication process and ultimately stop the disease.
“This compound is a long way from human use,” Prof. Stanley M. Lemon, of the University, said, “But it points the path to an effective way to treat a disease for which we have no treatment at all.”