HepBcommunity.org interview by Hope 103.2

Hi all,

I’ve just had the opportunity to be interviewed by Georgia Free for a new podcast series for the Australian radio channel Hope 103.2: https://hope1032.com.au/stories/culture/podcasts/2021/dr-thomas-tu-the-scientist-who-found-hope-by-researching-his-own-disease/.

Cheers,
Thomas

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Hi Thomas!
Great interview!
What do you think about crowdfunding to finance research?
If everyone of 300 mln people infected with Hep B donated 1 dollar it would be solid amount.

If you would have collected such money what drag research would be your first choice to finance?

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Thanks for the kind words, @OlgaP.

I think crowdfunding is a slippery slope. On one hand, philanthropic funding has been really important and successful to achieving many medical discoveries and driving progress. Scholarships, fellowships, research centres have all been funded this way and I’m really thankful that these are out there to drive medical science. We cannot achieve much of what we can without them.

But we also know that hep B affects the least wealthy people in the world. To expect them to fund their own cure is unjust, and we do not force people to do this for any of the other diseases (e.g. cancer, HIV, heart disease, etc.). I think it is more worthwhile for people to drive political will to dedicate stable funding from governments because research takes time (years to decades).

With regards to what I’d spend funding on, of course I’m biased towards my own research that is targetting the cccDNA form of the virus. We will probably need to target the virus at multiple steps in the lifecycle and one of the aspects that still is poorly targetted by any therapies on the horizon is the cccDNA, even though it is the key form that maintains a chronic infection. It’s so hard that many groups are instead saying “OK, it’s too hard for now, let’s just focus on surface antigen first”, but I think we eventually will need to do this to make sure people do not have their infections reactivate.

Thomas

If we initiate crowdfunding it could attract attention of media and other people. It would be difficult for governments to ignore it afterwards.
The difference between the diseases you’ve mentioned and Hep B is vaccination available. Governments tend to believe that having Hep B vaccination programme they support citizens enough trying to pretend that we, who are living with chronicle Hep B do not exist.

Hi @OlgaP,

These are good points. Maybe it’s worth setting up a Patreon page or something for this. I’ll look into it. Thanks for the suggestion.

Cheers,
Thomas