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Science Time

Science Time

Program Content for April 16, 2014

Read the article “New drugs cure hepatitis C” on page A1 of the Sunday, April 13, 2014 edition of The Seattle Times.


Number Hunt: Match each statement with its corresponding number from the article. 

  1. Millions of people impacted by HCV yearly.
  2. Number of weeks it takes for new medication to rid people of HCV.  
  3. Dollars per tablet of sofosbuvir.
  4. Yearly U.S. deaths to be averted thanks to hepatitis C cure.  
  5. Percent of people worldwide infected with HCV?  
  6. Years ago HCV was identified by scientists.
  7. Percent of HCV infections accounted for by baby boomers.


Answer Choices

A.              8

B.              15,000

C.              75

D.              3

E.               25

F.               1000

G.              3

Comprehension Questions 

  1. What are the type of medications called that are utilized against HCV?  
  2. Which organ does HCV harm?  
  3. What are the advantages of the new medications available to fight HCV over other pre-existing treatments?  
  4. What are the challenges associated with the already existing treatments for HCV?  
  5. How did most baby boomers (Americans aged 50 - 68) contract HCV?  
  6. What type of HCV patients are most likely to receive the new medications first?  

Prompts and Extensions 

  1. The article makes mention of the parallels between the discovery of antibiotics in the 20th century that destroy bacteria and antiviral medications that kill viruses today.  Construct a table that demonstrates the differences between bacteria and viruses.  Next, using your table and critical thinking skills;  explain why you think scientists have had a more difficult time finding treatments for viruses than bacteria.
  2. Discussion Questions:  The high cost for the newly developed HCV medications are such that only some of the current individuals infected will be able to receive treatment.  Do you think it is fair that some, but not all patients with HCV can be treated by this new cure?  What efforts do you think should be made to bring down the cost so all patients with HCV can have access to the new medication? Use this video clip to help frame your discussion
  3. Watch this video clip to learn more about the function of your liver, the impact HCV has on in it, and common treatments for those infected with the virus.


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