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Public Health Experiment Brings Hepatitis Cures to Egypt’s Poor

 A nurse would boil the syringes, fill each with five doses and then jab five boys in a row with a single needle. Six million Egyptians were infected with hepatitis C by unsterile needles during the
country’s decades-long fight against schistosomiasis. The virus spread insidiously; today, at least 10 percent of Egyptians, nearly nine million people, are chronically infected, the highest rate in the world.
The experiment here is about a year old and, while still fragile, appears to be headed for success.
Mr. Ellabbad, for one, was finally cured of hepatitis this spring. The air-conditioning repairman took a three-month regimen that included sofosbuvir, first of the new generation of miracle drugs. The pills would have cost more than $84,000 in the United States.

He got them free from the Egyptian government, which paid about $900. “Before, I felt like I was dying,” he said. “Now I feel like I’ve never felt before. Like I’m 35 again.”


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