Innovative use of antiviral therapy for Hepatitis C and drug policy initiatives made news this week in the ongoing fight against what has been called a silent killer. Quicker treatment times and lower costs means that the next generation of antiviral treatments for Hepatitis C will reach – and cure – more and more of the millions of people worldwide who suffer from the debilitating liver disease.
A study funded by the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) found that Hepatitis C could be effectively cured in just six weeks using a combination antiviral drug therapy. The study was conducted on patients with acute HCV – the virus that causes Hepatitis C. Antiviral therapy consisting of sofosbuvir and ledipasvir together resulted in a 95 percent cure rate against Hepatitis C. The test subjects were still cleared of Hepatitis C a full 12 weeks after antiviral therapy. The researchers at Hannover Medical School in Germany concluded that the combination antiviral therapy was not only effective in curing Hepatitis C, but the drastic shortening of the usual treatment period did not appear to have any effect on whether or not the treatment worked.
The length of treatment is a huge issue because of the high costs involved in antiviral therapy for Hepatitis C. Professor Frank Tacke, EASL Governing Board member, is quoted in Science Daily.
"These exciting findings open up short and cost-effective treatment options that could prevent the spread of HCV in high risk populations."