The molecule that helped hepatitis B patients

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The molecule that helped hepatitis B patients

The molecule that helped hepatitis B patients
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Every year, half a million people around the world catch hepatitis B, a disease that affects the liver.

The virus has reached epidemic proportions in many parts of the world and is already endemic in some parts of China and southern Africa.

Hepatitis B is transmitted through the blood and other infected body fluids but its more infectious than HIV and is an extremely stubborn disease that has proven resistant to most treatments.

That’s until in 2005 when French scientist Gilles Gosselin and his team in Montpellier developed a drug that is more effective than any of its kind.

The drug is based on a molecule called Telbivudine, which has been on the market since 2006.

The drug is not a vaccine to prevent hepatitis B but a therapy used when the virus is already active in the patient. Telbivudine prevents the disease spreading throughout the body. Gosselin and his team have been working to isolate this molecule for 10 years.

Europe’s pioneers

Starting on 8 May, euronews is broadcasting a series of six profiles of European inventors whose discoveries have contributed to change our world.

This special weekly series is produced by euronews in partnership with the European Patent Office.

  • 1st episode: Tuesday 8 May at 20:50 CET
    Gilles GosselinA treatment for hepatitis B
  • 2nd episode: Tuesday 15 May
    Jaap HaartsenThe Bluetooth revolution
  • 3rd episode: Tuesday 22 May
    Marc Van LoosdrechtA better treatment for waste water
  • 4th episode: Tuesday 29 May
    Stefan LehnertAir cushions imitate tropics
  • 5th episode: Tuesday 5 June
    Manfred StefenerFuel cells
  • 6th episode: Tuesday 12 June
    Jan TøpolmInternal hearing aids
  • 7th episode: Tuesday 19 June
    The European Inventor Awards

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