A partnership of biotechnology companies in the UK, France, Portugal and Sweden has won €6m in funding from the European Commission. The funds will be used to help develop diagnostic tests to improve the quality of life for patients with chronic hep C while also helping to manage the rising cost of medical treatment for people living with the virus.
One of the companies in the partnership is UK-based diagnostics firm, EPISTEM, which has been awarded €1.5m to develop tests on its portable Genedrive molecular testing device, which, it is hoped, will make testing patients for hep C faster, simpler and more accessible.
The European Commission is hopeful that this initiative will lead to faster and more affordable testing and treatments for people with hep C in developing countries.
It is thought that about 3% of the world’s population – around 150 million people – is infected with hepatitis C, resulting in around 350,000 deaths each year.