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Hepatitis C Cure Update: New Antiviral Treatment Can Cure Acute Hepatitis C In 6 Weeks

Apr 18, 2016 06:17 AM EDT
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In a new pilot study presented at The International Liver CongressTM in Barcelona, Spain, researchers reported a 90 percent cure rate of HCV using a new experimental antiviral treatment for six weeks.

Researchers from German HepNet Study-House gave a combination of sofosbuvir and ledipasvir to 20 HCV-positive patients once a day for 6 weeks. The risk factors of HCV infection among the 20 participants included sexual transmission, medical procedures/needle stick injury, drug use, and nail treatment complications.

"Given the high cost of sofosbuvir and ledipasvir, and the associated side effects that occur during treatment, we set out to assess whether shortened treatment duration could be an effective option for acute Hepatitis C patients," said Katja Deterding from Hannover Medical School, Germany and study author in a statement in EurekAlert.

In a follow-up 12 weeks later, there is no detectable HCV in all of the patients. This proves that the combination of sofosbuvir and ledipasvir is safe, tolerated and effective in acute HCV genotype 1 patients, who have severe liver disease with very high liver enzymes. Researchers also mentioned that shorter treatment duration does not hinder in the efficacy of the treatment.

"These exciting findings open up short and cost-effective treatment options that could prevent the spread of HCV in high risk populations," said Professor Frank Tacke, EASL Governing Board member, in a statement in Science Daily.

 "We look forward to seeing this pilot study extended so the findings can be validated and then hopefully used as a tool to change clinical practice for the better," Prof. Tacke added.

In a previous report, researchers from University of Oxford also made progress in developing a vaccine for HIV co-infected hepatitis C.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 3.5 million people in the United States that are infected with HCV in 2015. In 2007, 15,106 deaths in the United Sates are associated or caused by HCV.

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