Baby boomer hep C screen ‘premature’

The US academics have taken a controversial stand against organisations including the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization which, with the emergence of new drug treatments, began recommending screening everyone born during 1945—65 for the virus, since three quarters of all people in that age group were estimated to be infected. (MO, 17 Aug 2012)

In an analysis in the BMJ, Emeritus Professor of clinical medicine at UCLA School of Medicine, Ronald Koretz and colleagues argue that no study has tested whether widespread screening will lead to net clinical benefit or harm.

They also question the validity of using surrogate markers like sustained response rates in drug trials to predict long-term effects of treatments because most hepatitis C patients will not develop end-stage liver disease and will therefore be unnecessarily treated.

According to the authors, the ability of newer