As many as 200-million people around the world have Hepatitis C, and researchers expect that number to triple in the next decade. The virus can cause liver cancer and even death. Kathie Bryson has Hepatitis C. She got it through a needle she touched while working as a nurse. Eventually, she developed liver cancer. But now, after surgery and 4 months of chemo, she's just happy to be alive.
"I kind of laugh that every day if I wake up, and i'm not feeling good, I know i'm still here. I say if I wake up one day and I feel great, then i'll know i've died." says Bryson. Now, here's what's new.
Researchers at Saint Louis University are testing the first vaccine in humans to prevent Hepatitis C. In the study, 60 patients are injected with four different doses of the vaccine. All the patients produce antibodies that researchers believe could protect them from the virus. It's worked in animal studies. Now, researchers are waiting to see if humans are just as fortunate. Bryson says "it would be incredible. It would be a blessing. I just hope that I live long enough to see it." Scientists do know already that the only side effects of the vaccine appear to be pain and tenderness from the injection, so that's encouraging.