Interferon-free hepatitis C treatments now being developed

New treatments continue to be developed to combat the scourge of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), which is estimated to have infected about 95% of UK haemophiliacs receiving blood products up to the mid-1980s, when heat-treated and later ‘recombinant’ clotting factors became available; virtually eliminating the risk today of contracting hepatitis through injection of anti-haemophiliac clotting products.

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The Hepatitis C Trust is an excellent source of information on the latest developments in hepatitis C treatments.

The latest step forward, which has been widely reported in medical literature and online media, is an experimental drug duo that in clinical trials on 362 people with chronic hepatitis C indicated a 69% success rate in clearing hepatitis C, without causing the severe side-effects often associated with current standard interferon based therapy.

The German led research indicated that two new drugs – faldaprevir and deleobuvir – when taken with ribavirin provided an effective treatment for hepatitis C. Significantly, this was achieved without the need to inject interferon; part of the current therapy that has proven difficult for many patients to tolerate. Several other pharmaceutical companies are also actively pursuing the development of interferon-free drug combinations for the treatment of hepatitis C.

Eliminating injected interferon from treatment regimens is a highly desirable goal in hepatitis C management, which makes this news very welcome. However, it should be stressed that the trial results varied across genotypes, with genotype-1b patients being particularly responsive.

More information on the new treatments can be found on the Heptitis C Trust website: http://www.hepc-trust.org.uk

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