Liver disease could be prevented or treated by changing the way in which screening for Hepatitis C is conducted.
According to a group of research projects being presented at Digestive Disease Week, screening for the virus purely on an age basis rather than the current risk-based programme could help catch more incidences earlier on.
Adrian Di Bisceglie, chairman of the department of internal medicine at Saint Louis University, explained: "These studies suggest that innovative detection practices, as well as different methods of screening, can go a very long way in preventing liver-related diseases and can stave off premature death due to liver disease."
Hepatitis C is an infectious disease that affects the liver and, once established, it can progress to cirrhosis of the liver and even liver cancer.
One of the problems with the condition is the fact that there are very few, if any, symptoms present after the initial infection, yet the virus will persist in the liver among the majority of those infected.
This makes screening for the initial condition particularly important when looking to prevent or treat liver disease.