"What do they all talk about behind closed doors at those world HepC conferences?"
Since asking myself this question, I became intrigued about it, and so I had a look on the internet to see what I could find out. My finding is that the WHO and like bodies are not talking about hepC eradication, they are talking about hepC MANAGEMENT.
In this talk, the price and low availability of treatment is mentioned but no solutions are offered.
Conclusion: We are not going towards hepC eradication any time soon with the WHO at the helm.
I then took a look at the eradication programs for another 2 of the world's deadliest viral diseases, ie. smallpox and polio.
In those cases it was / is being achieved by large scale, far reaching, vaccination programs. Characteristics of the vaccine required were that it must be very cheap, effective, and preferably oral only so that it can be administered by non-medical volunteers. For hepC, we could widen the solution to any vaccine or cure that does the job cheaply, effectively and with very few doses (eg. 1 - 3).
Well, as you know, we don't have anything like this right now, although there are some hopefuls in development. So for worldwide eradication of hepC, these hopefuls that fit the criteria above are what we need to support and promote. 'Successful' is in the hands of the scientists. 'Cheap' - well who's hands will that be in? What if the company that is successful in coming up with this treatment sells out to Gilead? It's unthinkable - right? Or is it? What's to stop that happening? Well, right now, NOTHING!
So here's the deal. We have to be vigilant this time round. There are humanitarian groups in the world that would hopefully use a hepC vaccine to eradicate hepC from the world. We need to ensure that this medicine gets from the developers into the hands of these groups in such a way that the developers are fairly compensated and at the same time mass inoculation is still affordable. I would hope that that is doable, provided that the Big Greedy Pigs are prevented from ripping hundreds of millions of dollars off the top. That cannot be allowed to happen this time.
Here is a list of some of the big players involved in the polio eradication. I do not vouch for any of them because I don't know enough about them, but some might be helpful for the task at hand:
National governments, WHO, Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), UNICEF, supported by key partners including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Underpinning the effort is a global network of more than 20 million volunteers worldwide who have collectively immunized nearly 3 billion children over the past 20 years (for polio).
So I am watching drug developments closely. I hope a lot of people are watching and will shout loudly about it if they see the progress of this medicine moving in the wrong direction. The Gilead debacle might be seen by some as a fait accompli. Let's face it, there were many who were asleep at the wheel who let it happen. Next time round nobody can use this as an excuse.