Hepatitis C Challenge: Caring Ambassadors Hep C Program
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Hepatitis News:

July 2008


IN THE NEWS


Increased knowledge and awareness top priorities during Hepatitis Awareness Month
“VANCOUVER, WA- As Hepatitis Awareness Month kicks off May 1st, long-time hepatitis C patient advocate Lorren Sandt has one wish: that all people in the Pacific Northwest with chronic viral hepatitis have the information they need to be properly diagnosed. The Caring Ambassadors Hepatitis C Program (CAP Hepatitis C) is working in collaboration with other community-based organizations, nonprofit groups, and state and local health departments to make that goal a reality.”[truncated]

Study: 1 in 50 NYC adults has hepatitis C
“At least one in 50 New York City adults is infected with hepatitis C, according to new findings from the Health Department. But because many are unaware of their infection, they may miss out on the steps needed to protect themselves and prevent transmission. Data from the city's Health and Nutrition Examination Survey show that 2 percent of New York City adults - about 130,000 people - are infected with the virus. The actual number is higher, because hepatitis C is especially prevalent among the homeless and the incarcerated - two groups not covered by this survey. National survey data yielded similar findings for the country as a whole.” [truncated]

Medical marijuana user dies for lack of liver transplant
“A musician who was denied a liver transplant because he used marijuana with medical approval under Washington state law to ease the symptoms of advanced hepatitis C died Thursday. The death of Timothy Garon, 56, at Bailey-Boushay House, an intensive care nursing center was confirmed to The Associated Press by his lawyer, Douglas Hiatt, and Alisha Mark, a spokeswoman for Virginia Mason Medical Center, which operates Bailey-Boushay.” [truncated]

Health Dept. urges testing, vaccinations for hepatitis A, B, C
“The Vermont Department of Health is encouraging anyone at risk for infection from three viruses that harm the liver - hepatitis A, B and C - to be aware of these diseases, to get tested, and to get vaccinated. May is Viral Hepatitis Awareness Month.People who use street drugs, have multiple sexual partners, men who have sex with men, anyone who has sex for money, people with liver disease, or anyone who has sex with a person-at-risk are eligible for free vaccinations.” [truncated]

Hepatitis C a 'giant' that sleeps no longer
“The "sleeping giant" of hepatitis C in Canada has clearly awoken, concludes a new Alberta study that found the incidence of severe illness triggered by the liver virus -- and the resulting burden on the health care system -- has grown explosively. The number of hospitalizations for serious complications of the virus, the number of deaths while in hospital and the lengths of hospital stays jumped 400% between 1994 and 2004, the Calgary-area research found.” [truncated]

Global groups slam hep C ban
“The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been singled out for condemnation by global health organisations following the news that the hepatitis c virus (HCV) has been added to the country's list of deportable diseases. A Ministry of Health circular, which was leaked to the press last month, said that visa applications and renewals would now include a screen for HCV. Existing residents will face deportation if they test positively for the virus.” [truncated]

Review finds "worrying" gaps in drug treatment services
“Drug treatment services in the UK are failing to reduce hepatitis B and C in drug users, the country's health watchdog has warned today. A report from the Healthcare Commission and the National Treatment Agency (NTA) says there are significant gaps in the provision of vaccination and testing for hepatitis B and in treatment for hepatitis C. The study says these gaps are concerning as 90 per cent of all hepatitis C diagnoses are associated with injecting drug use.” [truncated]

Charity CD launched in fight against hepatitis
“Maria Norris -I WILL be launching a charity CD in aid of the Hepatitis C Trust to coincide with World Hepatitis Day (WHD) 8 on May 19. This CD is my brainchild. I am currently undergoing treatment for hepatitis C (HCV). With the help of fellow HCV patients and other friends, I have co-ordinated the compilation of this CD and the cover graphics. The CD consists of 14 original tracks, donated by local artists, three of which I sing myself.” [truncated]

Kelly's Lot sheds a "Light" on hepatitis C in Belgium
“First new STUDIO CD in Eight Years from National Spokesband for HepCAware.org (Los Angeles, CA): After spending almost a decade as National Spokesband for the Hep C Awareness campaign in the U.S., Kelly's Lot now brings its good works and good music to Europe. The band is on the road in support of the roadhouse rock & blues release "The Light," their first new studio CD in eight years. The last show of their trip will be dedicated to raising awareness of hepatitis C.” [truncated]

77 More hepatitis C victims tied to endoscopy center of Southern Nevada
“Seventy seven more former patients of the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada have tested positive for hepatitis C, and their illnesses are likely the result of the unsanitary methods employed by the now-closed clinic. The 77 cases of hepatitis C combined with those confirmed earlier bring the number of cases linked to clinics run by the same group of doctors to 85.” [truncated]

New theory suggests how hepatitis C may cause rare immune disease
“Of the hepatitis alphabet, the C variant may be the nastiest. In 1990, researchers observed that most patients with hepatitis C also develop a rare autoimmune disease called mixed cryoglobulinemia, a condition that frequently leads to cancer, arthritis or both. Now, researchers at Rockefeller University say that a decade-old explanation of how one disease causes the other is likely wrong, and instead offer a new - albeit controversial - theory of their own: that the pathogen causing the disease zeros in on a specific cellular target that has yet to be identified.” [truncated]

City clinic offers total care for hepatitis C (Canada)
“A hepatitis C clinic in Guelph could soon become the first incorporated hepatitis C agency in Ontario, and perhaps the first in Canada. Director Dr. Chris Steingart said patients need more than medical treatment for the debilitating virus, which affects the function of the liver. They also have housing needs, need assistance with mental health issues and often require addiction management services, he said. The new Sanguen Health Centre, which is housed in the same building as Guelph's Masai Centre for Local, Regional and Global Health, and which opened last fall, is positioning itself to offer a totality of care.” [truncated]

EMEA provides guidance on chronic hepatitis C trials
“The primary endpoint for confirmatory efficacy studies of treatments for chronic hepatitis C (CHC) should be sustained virological response (SVR), according to a draft guideline from the European Medicines Agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP).” [truncated]

Silent disease an issue locally
“Hepatitis C is a disease many have - though few realize it. It's been dubbed "the ghost virus" and the "silent stalker" because it evades media attention and even medical diagnosis, area medical practitioners say. "It's a silent infection in that most people never know they've picked it up," said Dr. Ralph McKibbon, gastroenterologist at Altoona Regional Health System. "Many people who have it have no recognizable symptoms. It often goes undiagnosed because it's unsuspected - if we don't look for it, we don't find it. That's why screening is so important," he said. It also is the most prevalent cause of chronic liver disease.” [truncated]

Patient safety bill would publicize doctors' names
“Gov. David A. Paterson introduced a wide-ranging patient safety bill Wednesday that would give the state more authority in health investigations and, for the first time, make public names of doctors under scrutiny. The bill follows the case of Dr. Harvey Finkelstein, a Long Island doctor whose poor infection control practices led to transmission of at least one case of hepatitis C.” [truncated]

Hundreds walk in annual hepatitis C awareness event
“Hundreds of New Yorkers walked from Battery Park to City Hall to raise awareness of Hepatitis C Thursday. The Latino Organization for Liver Awareness held its fourth annual walk in Lower Manhattan to promote testing and treatment for the disease that affects one in every fifty New Yorkers. "We want New Yorkers to know that testing is available and treatment is available. So this is really an awareness day," said Cathy Paykin of LOLA. "This is a way of also showing the community that, you know what, Hepatitis C doesn't discriminate. It can affect anyone. A woman, a child, a teenager, a substance abuser or a doctor or a teacher. It's a universal, democratic virus," said Debbie Vega of LOLA. "So I think that this gathering here today shows all faces of anyone who could be at risk."” [truncated]

Hepatitis cases prompt federal recommendations
“Better surveillance, education and oversight is needed to prevent another hepatitis C outbreak in Nevada, according to a federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released Thursday. The report follows recent word from public health administrators that more than 80 people treated at the now-closed Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada tested positive for the potentially deadly virus and had no risk factors other than their treatments.” [truncated]

Medivir ab broadens its hepatitis C collaboration with Tibotec, entering a partnership in the field of HCV polymerase
“Medivir AB announced today a new Research, Development and License agreement in the field of hepatitis C virus (HCV). Under the agreement, executed with Ortho Biotech Products L.P. of Bridgewater, NJ (a wholly owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson), Medivir will partner with Tibotec BVBA of Mechelen, Belgium.” [truncated]

Tattoo craze causes surge in hepatitis cases
“The tattoo craze that is exploding among young people has also led to an alarming surge in hepatitis, health experts have revealed. Cases of Hepatitis B and C in Australia have jumped 13,000 to 277,000 during the past year, and experts say the boom in "body art" and piercing was a significant factor.” [truncated]

Raising hepatitis awareness
“GREEN VALLEY, WV - A few at a time ask for testing, hoping the results will say negative. Some get good news, but others learn that what they feared is true. They have hepatitis. Area people infected with hepatitis are joining millions of others in a grim statistic: one in every 12 people worldwide is living with hepatitis B or C, and the majority of them don't know they are infected. .” [truncated]

World Hepatitis Alliance calls on governments to take urgent action
“The World Hepatitis Alliance, today called on governments around the world to drive improvements in prevention, diagnosis, treatment and support for the one in 12 people worldwide infected with either chronic viral hepatitis B or C. Helen Tyrrell, CEO of Hepatitis Australia and founding member of the World Hepatitis Alliance says "The World Health Organization has estimated that over 350 million people on the planet are living with chronic viral hepatitis B and more than 170 million are living with chronic hepatitis C but there is an astonishing lack of awareness and in some countries political will to tackle these diseases. "Many experts refer to viral hepatitis as a hidden epidemic; our aim is to make sure it does not become a forgotten epidemic."” [truncated]

Pharmasset chooses lead hepatitis C drug candidate
“Clinical-stage pharmaceutical company Pharmasset Inc. said Monday that it has selected PSI-7851, a preclinical drug for treatment of hepatitis C virus, as its lead candidate for treatment of the disease. The company anticipates filing an investigational new drug application for PSI-7851 with regulators in the first quarter of 2009.” [truncated]

Transgene upbeat over hepatitis C vaccine product
“French biotechnology company Transgene said on Monday that its hepatitis c virus (HCV) therapeutic vaccine TG4040 product had delivered promising Phase I results. Transgene said in a statement that a preliminary analysis showed that the product had a "favourable safety profile." "These results, despite their preliminary and partial nature, are very encouraging and indicate that TG4040 is active against hepatitis C," said Chief Executive Philippe Archinard.”

Plan to boost number of hepatitis C sufferers receiving treatment
“The number of people receiving specialist treatment for hepatitis C will increase dramatically under plans outlined by the Scottish Government yesterday. Currently, only about 450 people a year receive antiviral treatment for the blood-borne disease - out of an estimated 50,000 people with the infection in Scotland, although only about 14,500 people are currently diagnosed with hepatitis C.” [truncated]

Santaris Pharma begins human clinical testing of the world's first medicine targeted at a human microRNA SPC3649 (LNA-antimiR-122) being developed as a potential new therapy for Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection Ground-breaking Phase I volunteer study made possible through the success of Locked Nucleic Acid (LNA) chemistry
“Santaris Pharma, the Danish biopharmaceutical company, announced today that it has commenced a Phase I human volunteer trial of the world's first microRNA medicine to be tested in man - SPC3649 (LNA-antimiRTM-122). The study is being conducted by PhaseOneTrials A/S, Copenhagen, and will include a maximum of 48 healthy male volunteers. The Company also announced that the first cohort of healthy volunteers in the study have completed treatment satisfactorily. SPC3649 is being developed by Santaris Pharma as a potential new approach to the treatment for Hepatitis C infection. Phase II studies in hepatitis patients will follow.” [truncated]

Hepatitis B and C awareness across Washington
“The State Health Department says people need to get checked for Hepatitis B and C. They say in Washington more than 120,000 people have the virus, but only about half of the cases have been reported. Right now the health department is already working on how to prevent more cases.
Starting in June, they'll offer free Hepatitis C testing across the state, and also free vaccines for Hepatitis A and B. Doctors say one in 12 people in the world are living with Hepatitis. For this reason the World Hepatitis Alliance, has come up with a campaign called Am I number 12?. The Washington Health Department is also working with this campaign.” [truncated]

Schering-Plough begins phase III hepatitis studies
“Schering-Plough is initiating two large Phase III studies of boceprevir, its investigational oral hepatitis C protease inhibitor, in patients chronically infected with hepatitis C virus genotype 1. One study will be in untreated patients. The other will be in patients who failed prior treatment. The two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies will evaluate the efficacy of boceprevir in combination with Pegintron (peginterferon alfa-2b) and Rebetol (ribavirin, USP) compared with treatment with Pegintron and Rebetol alone. The company said the two studies will run concurrently and are projected to enroll more than 1,400 patients at U.S. and international sites.”

Boehringer unveils Laval research investment
“Boehringer Ingelheim, one of the world's 20 largest pharmaceutical research and development companies, yesterday unveiled a $36-million research centre in Laval that will specialize in infectious diseases such as Hepatitis C and HIV. The Laval facility will be one of four principal research centres around the world for Boehringer Ingelheim, a German-based company that has roots dating back more than century. Jobs will be created for another 40 scientists, who will join the existing team of 150 researchers.” [truncated]

The hepatitis C wedding A couple in Cornwall married at a wedding with a hepatitis C theme. How a killer disease brought two people together
“Seventy guests file out from the wedding of Chrissy Davis and John Semple at Truro's register office, Cornwall. As they gather for photographs it is obvious that many of the guests are not a picture of health: some are gaunt; some have yellow complexions; and about a dozen have some hair missing. This is because 60 of them have hepatitis C. They have poorly functioning livers and are on treatments that can cause hair loss.” [truncated]

New hope for liver diseases
“Human liver cells have been generated from embryonic stem cells using a new model, hopefully opening the door to help scientists screen for harmful side effects of new drugs before they are used in patients. That was one of several reports on advances against liver diseases that were presented this week at Digestive Disease Week 2008 in San Diego. Other presentations involved ways to predict which patients with hepatitis C might benefit from long-term antibiotic therapy and information about how monitoring the body's viral load in hepatitis B patients may help predict liver cancer.” [truncated]

Overcoming virus early beats hepatitis
“Driving down the number of circulating copies of the hepatitis C virus to undetectable levels in the earliest stages of infection makes it highly likely that the patient will eventually be cured - even among patients who are also infected with HIV. The findings, the interim results from an Australian study presented to a recent international conference in Italy, suggest that rapid virological response - or RVR, the term used to indicate successful suppression of viral load within four weeks of starting treatment - is just as good a predictor of eventual cure among patients suffering acute hepatitis C infection as it is already known to be among chronically infected individuals.” [truncated]

After Las Vegas hepatitis scare, ECRI Institute provides guidance about device reuse
“ECRI Institute, an independent, nonprofit organization that researches the best approaches to improving patient care, has created a new online resource devoted to medical device reuse issues. The free site, provides access to a select number of guidance articles from ECRI Institute's research library. The site includes recommended practices, as well as policy and procedure development tools on patient communication and device reuse issues.” [truncated]

Positive findings in treatment for advanced hepatitis C
“The hepatitis C therapy peginterferon alfa-2b, when given as low-dose maintenance therapy, can prevent disease progression in certain patients who failed previous interferon-based hepatitis C therapies and have advanced liver disease, according to findings from a large, four-year study presented at the 43rd annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL).”


CLINICAL TRIALS, COHORT STUDIES, PILOT STUDIES


Antiviral effects and safety of telaprevir, peginterferon alfa-2a, and ribavirin for 28 days in hepatitis C patients. Lawitz E, et al. Hepatol. 2008 Apr 29. [Epub ahead of print]

Safety and antiviral activity of albinterferon alfa-2b dosed every four weeks in genotype 2/3 chronic hepatitis C patients. Bain VG, et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2008 May 6. [Epub ahead of print]

Results of pegylated interferon and ribavirin for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C in clinical practice: a 5-year experience. Vergara M, et al. J. Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2008 May;31(5):274-9.

Peginterferon Alfa-2a and Ribavirin for 24 Weeks in Hepatitis C Type 1 and 4 Patients With Rapid Virological Response. Ferenci P, Laferl H, Scherzer TM, et al. Gastroenterology. 2008 May 23. [Epub ahead of print]

“I inject less as I have easier access to pipes" Injecting, and sharing of crack-smoking materials, decline as safer crack-smoking resources are distributed. Leonard L, Derubeis E, Pelude L, et Int J Drug Policy. 2008 Jun;19(3):255-64. Epub 2007 May 1.al.

Chronic hepatitis B and C dual hepatitis has a poor response to pegylated interferon and ribavirin therapy. Senturk H, Tahan V, Canbakan B, et al. Neth J Med. 2008 May;66(5):191-5.

Rapid virological response and treatment duration for chronic hepatitis C genotype 1 patients: A randomized trial. Yu ML, Dai CY, Huang JF, et al. Hepatology. 2008 May 28;47(6):1884-1893. [Epub ahead of print]

Could the depression of obese patients suffering from chronic hepatitis C be temporarily improved? Tarantino G, Basile V, Conca P, et al. J Viral Hepat. 2008 May 27. [Epub ahead of print]

Clinical and histological impact of previous hepatitis B virus infection in patients with chronic hepatitis C. Carvalho-Filho RJ, de Lucca Schiavon L, Narciso-Schiavon JL, et al. Liver Int. 2008 May 23. [Epub ahead of print]

The inverse relationship between chronic HBV and HCV infections among injection drug users is associated with decades of age and drug use. Tseng FC, Edlin BR, Zhang M, et al. J Viral Hepat. 2008 May 27. [Epub ahead of print]

Lower-than-standard dose peg-IFN alfa-2a for chronic hepatitis C caused by genotype 2 and 3 is sufficient when given in combination with weight-based ribavirin. Weiland O, Hollander A, Mattsson L, et al. J Viral Hepat. 2008 May 27. [Epub ahead of print]

Does a late evening meal reduce the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma among patients with chronic hepatitis C? Ohfuji S, Fukushima W, Tanaka T, et al. Hepatol Res. 2008 May 27. [Epub ahead of print]


BASIC AND APPLIED SCIENCE, PRE-CLINICAL STUDIES


Virus induced over-expression of protein phosphatase 2A inhibits insulin signalling in chronic hepatitis C. Bernsmeier C, et al. J Hepatol. 2008 Apr 30. [Epub ahead of print]

Viral kinetic of HCV genotype-4 during pegylated interferon alpha 2a: ribavirin therapy. Derbala MF, et al. J Viral Hepat. 2008 May 15. [Epub ahead of print]

Microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTP) -493G/T gene polymorphism contributes to fat liver accumulation in HCV genotype 3 infected patients. Zampino R, et al. J Viral Hepat. 2008 May 15. [Epub ahead of print]

Hepatitis C virus diversity and evolution in the full open-reading frame during antiviral therapy. Cannon NA, et al. PLoS ONE. 2008 May 7;3(5):e2123.

MBL2 and hepatitis C virus infection among injection drug users. Brown EE, et al. BMC Infect Dis. 2008 May 1;8(1):57. [Epub ahead of print]

Hepatitis C virus (HCV)-specific immune responses of long-term injection drug users frequently exposed to HCV. Mizukoshi E, Eisenbach C, Edlin BR, et al. J Infect Dis. 2008 May 27. [Epub ahead of print]

Virological pattern in plasma, peripheral blood mononuclear cells and liver tissue and clinical outcome in chronic hepatitis B and C virus coinfection. Coppola N, Pisapia R, Tonziello G, et al. Antivir Ther. 2008;13(2):307-18.


HIV/HCV COINFECTION


Chronic hepatitis B and C dual hepatitis has a poor response to pegylated interferon and ribavirin therapy. Senturk H, et al. Neth J Med. 2008 May;66 (5):191-5.

Sexual transmission is associated with spontaneous HCV clearance in HIV-infected patients. Shores NJ, Maida I, Soriano V, Núnez M. J Hepatol. 2008 May 5. [Epub ahead of print]

The symptom experience of HIV/HCV-coinfected adults. Bova C, et al. J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care. 2008 May-Jun;19(3):170-80.

Baseline serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels predict response to hepatitis C virus therapy in HIV/hepatitis C virus coinfected patients. del Valle J, et al. AIDS. 2008 May 11;22(8):923-30.


COMPLEMENTARY & ALTERNATIVE THERAPY


Apolipoprotein B-dependent hepatitis C virus secretion is inhibited by the grapefruit flavonoid naringenin. Nahmias Y, Goldwasser J, Casali M, van Poll D, Wakita T, Chung RT, Yarmush ML. Hepatology. 2008 May;47(5):1437-45.

Silybin treatment is associated with reduction in serum ferritin in patients with chronic hepatitis C. Bares JM, et al. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2008 May 2. [Epub ahead of print]Links


EPIDEMIOLOGY, DIAGNOSTICS, AND MISCELLANEOUS WORKS


Pregnancy complications associated with hepatitis C: data from a 2003-2005 Washington state birth cohort. Pergam SA, et al. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008 May 15. [Epub ahead of print]

Dissection of familial correlations in Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) seroprevalence suggests evidence for intrafamilial viral transmission and genetic predisposition to infection. Plancoulaine S, et al. Gut. 2008 May 14. [Epub ahead of print]

Does race influence outcomes after primary liver transplantation? A 23-year experience with 2,700 patients. Hong JC, et al. J Am Coll Surg. 2008 May;206(5):1009-16; discussion 1016-8. Epub 2008 Mar 17.

Linking women to health and wellness: Street Outreach takes a population health approach. Carrière GL. Int J Drug Policy. 2008 May 9. [Epub ahead of print]

Experience of German Red Cross blood donor services with nucleic acid testing: results of screening more than 30 million blood donations for human immunodeficiency virus-1, hepatitis C virus, and hepatitis B virus. Hourfar MK, et al. Transfusion. 2008 May 6. [Epub ahead of print]

Family physicians' knowledge and screening of chronic hepatitis and liver cancer. Ferrante JM, Winston DG, Chen PH, de la Torre AN. Fam Med. 2008 May;40(5):345-51.

Latinos and chronic hepatitis C: a singular population. Rodríguez-Torres M. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2008 May;6(5):484-90.

The effect of pegylated interferon-alpha2b and ribavirin on posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. Dieperink E, Leskela J, Dieperink ME, Evans B, Thuras P, Ho SB. Psychosomatics. 2008 May-Jun;49(3):225-9.

Assessment of fibrosis by transient elastography compared with liver biopsy and morphometry in chronic liver diseases. Wong GL, et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2008 May 2. [Epub ahead of print]

Evaluation of the severity of chronic hepatitis C with 3-T1H-MR spectroscopy. Orlacchio A, et al. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2008 May;190(5):1331-9.

Histologic abnormalities are common in protocol liver allograft biopsies from patients with normal liver function tests. Abraham SC, Poterucha JJ, Rosen CB, Demetris AJ, Krasinskas AM. Am J Surg Pathol. 2008 May 2. [Epub ahead of print]

Rapid viral response and treatment outcome in genotype 2 and 3 chronic hepatitis C: comparison between two HCV RNA quantitation methods. Carlsson T, Quist A, Weiland O. J Med Virol. 2008 May;80(5):803-7.

EVP-ABD-enhanced MRI to evaluate diffuse liver disease in a rat model. Zuo CS, Seoane PR, Thomsen M, et al. J Magn Reson Imaging. 2008 May 26;27(6):1317-1321. [Epub ahead of print]

Evaluating the accuracy and increasing the reliable diagnosis rate of blood tests for liver fibrosis in chronic hepatitis C. Calès P, de Ledinghen V, Halfon P, et al. Liver Int. 2008 May 19. [Epub ahead of print]

Cost-effectiveness of the national screening program for hepatitis C virus in the general population and the high-risk groups. Nakamura J, Terajima K, Aoyagi Y, Akazawa K. Tohoku J Exp Med. 2008 May;215(1):33-42

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