Recent study reported that kidneys from donors infected with Hepatitis C are viable and will not infect the recipient.
Kidney disease is the ninth leading cause of death in the United States.
More than 37 million Americans have chronic kidney disease and roughly 5,000 die each year while on the kidney transplant waiting list; that’s about 12 people each day.
But nearly 40% of the hepatitis C-infected kidneys donated between January 2018 and March 2019 were discarded.
Earlier studies have shown that the United States is throwing away at least 3,500 donated kidneys every year for a wide variety of reasons.
This makes for insufficiency in the available number of kidneys for transplant.
Hepatitis C is a liver infection that can lead to serious liver damage. It’s caused by the hepatitis C virus.
Dr. Vishnu Potluri, the lead author on the study and a nephrology fellow at the University of Pennsylvania said: “The key thing about hepatitis C is that millions of Americans have this infection and most don’t know that they have it, it’s mild and takes many years for it to progress.”
He added that there weren’t really good options to treat hepatitis C until few years ago, but drugs with high cure rates are available.
“The transplant community realized that you could transplant a kidney from someone with hepatitis C and start treating them right away, and the early trials found the infection could be cured after the transplant”. Potluri said.
With the massive shortage of organs, it is good news to patients with kidney failure, as Potluri and his coauthors argue that the Kidney Donor Profile Index Calculator needs to be updated to better reflect modern science and take into consideration the evidence that organs from infected donors work just as well as uninfected organs.
A study published in Journal of the American Society of Nephrology on Thursday September 12, 2019, found a threefold increase in the number of transplant centers using hepatitis C-infected kidneys.