Just six weeks to cure hepatitis C patient
The study found that all patients with acute HCV, who were treated with a direct-acting antiviral treatment over a "'short-duration" of six weeks, had undetectable HCV after a 12 week follow-up.
The investigator-initiated study demonstrated that the combination of sofosbuvir and ledipasvir for only six weeks is sufficient to treat patients with acute HCV.
Those infected with HCV usually develop acute Hepatitis C, which spontaneously clears in 10 to 50 percent of infected persons. Early diagnosis of HCV infection is rare and the disease may go unnoticed until patients have already developed serious liver damage.
Sofosbuvir and ledipasvir is one possible regimen for treatment of patients with chronic HCV. Sustained virologic response (SVR) is greater than 95 percent with a 12-week course of this treatment.
"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 study author Katja Deterding from Hannover Medical School.
The research demonstrates that not only is the combination of sofosbuvir and ledipasvir safe, well tolerated and effective in acute HCV genotype 1 patients who have severe liver disease with very high liver enzymes, but a shorter treatment duration does not appear to hinder efficacy, confirmed senior author Heiner Wedemeyer.
"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.
"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." ■