CAIRO: A new drug for treating hepatitis C will be available on the Egyptian market early next month, Health Minister Adel al-Adawy announced Monday.
A 30,000-dose shipment of Olisio, the new treatment, has arrived in Egypt, and is currently undergoing tests before release on the market, the head of National Committee for the Control of Viral Hepatitis Waheed Doss told Youm 7.
Doss added that once Olisio is approved, the treatment protocol will be changed and the new drug will be used simultaneously with the currently-used American-made Sovaldi.
In recent months, around 58,000 hepatitis C patients have been treated using Sovaldi with a cure rate of 95 percent, according to official reports.
Last September, an online registration process had started for patients and officials say that more than 872,000 had signed up for receiving the state-subsidized Sovaldi.
Egypt has the highest rate of hepatitis C in the world, according to the United Nations Population Fund; 14.7 percent of people between ages 15-49 have tested positive for the virus. Doss said that fighting the infection from the disease itself is a top priority for the ministry as number of patients increase annually in between 150,000 to 200,000 persons.