Wesal Elgretli’s M.Sc. project underlines the importance of addressing liver disease simultaneously with HCV infection

Master of Science student Wesal Elgretli was recognized by an academic scholarship to attend the April 2023 meeting of the Canadian Association for HIV Research in Quebec City, where she gave an oral presentation on her work on the hepatitis C virus (HCV). A student of experimental medicine at McGill University and trainee in the Metabolic Disorders and Complications Program at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI‑MUHC), Elgretli was also recently awarded a highly competitive two-year bursary from the Canadian Hepatitis C Network.

The project earning this recognition is titled “The effect of hepatic steatosis and liver fibrosis on cardiovascular risk in people with HCV.” As Elgretli explains, “In today’s world, where direct-acting antivirals are being widely used to combat HCV, viral eradication may represent suboptimal clinical care unless it simultaneously addresses the residual liver disease. The aim of this study is to investigate the potential relationship between hepatic steatosis and significant liver fibrosis and an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease among people with HCV infection.”

“I’m very proud of Wesal Elgretli’s progress,” says her supervisor, RI-MUHC researcher Dr. Giada Sebastiani. “It’s all the more impressive as she immigrated to Montreal from Libya recently with her young family. Her work points towards the property of the hepatitis C virus to cause metabolic alterations, leading to hepatic steatosis, insulin resistance and dyslipidemia. In the era of successful implementation of highly effective, direct-acting antiviral medications to treat hepatitis C, it is important to appreciate the cardiometabolic complications of the virus beyond liver disease.”

Read the publication in Biomedicines.