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December 14, 1984

International findings point to third hepatitis virus

JAMA. 1984;252(22):3091-3092. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350220011005

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One of the long-sought viruses of non-A, non-B hepatitis may have been discovered.

If the preliminary findings identifying the agent hold up—and there are reports suggesting that they will—the way would be open toward preventing a major remaining form of hepatitis. This prevention could be accomplished both by screening out the agent from blood used for transfusions and possibly also by developing a vaccine along the lines of the present agent against hepatitis B.

The end result would be to reduce still further the incidence of this major and often fatal liver disease. About 90% of transfusion-associated hepatitis is caused by the non-A, non-B agent, according to experts.

Ever since the two viruses of hepatitis—A and B—were identified, epidemiologic evidence has pointed to at least a third hepatitis virus. But it has eluded identification.

Now a group of investigators working in the United States and Sweden believes it has found