is the most deadly disease in the world? Most people would reply
HIV/AIDS. But, did you know that Hepatitis B is 50 to a 100 times more
infectious than HIV? According to World Health Organization (WHO),
Hepatitis B virus infection is a critical global health concern. The
facts outline the severity of the condition:
• 2 billion people worldwide have been infected with Hepatitis B infection.
• 350 million people globally are living with chronic infections.
• 500,000 to 700,000 people die every year from Hepatitis B infection.
is one of the top ‘at risk’ countries, according to WHO. Based on the
prevalence of HBV carrier state in the general population, countries are
classified as having high (8% or more), intermediate (2 to 7%), or low
(less than 2%) Hepatitis B endemicity. India has intermediate endemicity
of Hepatitis B, with Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) prevalence
between 2% and 10% among populations studied. In India:
• 40 million people are infected with the Hepatitis B virus infections.
More than 100,000 people die every year from the disease. This accounts
more approximately 1/6 th of the worldwide deaths from Hepatitis B.
• In India, of the infants born every year, one million run the risk of developing chronic Hepatitis B infection.
What is Hepatitis B?
B is a viral infection that attacks the liver. The virus can survive
outside the body for at least seven days and symptoms may not show up
for several months. The risk of contracting the virus is higher if a
• Has had intercourse with someone who is infected with Hepatitis B virus or any other sexually transmitted disease.
• Has multiple sexual partners.
Shares syringes and needles with others, like drug users. It is
estimated that a significant percentage of new Hepatitis B infections
are from intravenous drug use.
• Requiring blood transfusion on a regular basis for conditions like hemophilia.
• Has contracted the virus at birth from the mother, which is known as vertical or perinatal transmission.
The Future is Prevention
There are ways to prevent contracting the virus. Here are a few guidelines that can help:
• Get vaccinated against Hepatitis B.
• Practice safe sex.
• Refrain from intravenous drug use
• Ensure that only sterilized needles are used during blood transmission.
• Go for regular check-ups.
vaccinating yourself against the disease is your best bet, the good
news is that there are available treatments for the condition. A
six-month course of combinations of antivirals, immunoglobins and
interferons are prescribed for Hepatitis B, which cost anywhere between
Rs 10,000 to Rs 1 lakh. The efficacy rate of allopathic medication is
reported be at 30%. However, patients are often unable to complete the
course, due to the side effects, which include kidney disorders, white
blood cells, red blood cells and platelet reduction and depression.
Herbs for Hepatitis B
people are seeking herbal remedies for the treatment of both chronic
and lifestyle disorders. Ayurveda, India’s oldest form of traditional
medicinal system, states that herbal compositions can offer a holistic
treatment for any given condition.
Drawing from Ayurveda, Himalaya
has developed a phytopharmaceutical drug for the management of
Hepatitis B. Liv.52 HB, containing the herbs Nut Grass and Umbrella’s
Edge, is an US patent pending formulation that is backed by clinical
trials in leading hospitals. Studies on the drug have been published in
internal journals like Antiviral Research and World Journal of
Gastroenterology. While the efficacy rate is comparable to available
treatments, the drug comes at a fraction of the price. A six-month
course is priced at Rs 4,680.
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