Infection with the hepatitis C virus, unlike HIV, is curable. However, it has always been difficult to treat, with unpleasant side effects and success rates vary considerably depending on the HCV genotype involved. The prospects for curative treatment have recently improved with the development of new types of hepatitis C drugs that work directly against the virus.
Heiner Wedemeyer of the Hannover Medical School in Germany described the new drugs as “challenging the established order”.
The first DAAs used, boceprevir (Victrelis) and telaprévir (Incivo or Incivek), should always be used in combination with pegylated interferon and ribavirin, the previous standard treatment. They can shorten the duration of treatment and increase the cure rate, but they have their own side effects, complicated dosage and potential interactions with other drugs.
Hepatitis C drugs under development are easier to take and better tolerated, and cure rates increase. The ultimate goal is to develop a treatment for hepatitis C without pegylated interferon, thus avoiding the side effects of this drug and the injections necessary for its administration.
These new treatments are expected to significantly increase the number of people who can tolerate hepatitis C treatment, increase the rate of cure and reduce the number of people who end up developing serious liver disease and disorders.
They should also reduce the rate of hepatitis C transmissions.
As with anti-HIV drugs, hepatitis C treatments fall into several “classes,” and these new drugs work by attacking HCV at different stages of its life cycle. Treatments without interferon should, like anti-HIV treatment, be taken in combination with other drugs of different classes. New treatments are much less complicated to take, usually once a day, and better tolerated.
Although the test results, for some of these new drugs in particular, are promising, there are still challenges ahead. The cure rates are still low in some groups of patients based on their genotype and previous liver damage, for example. Drug interactions can cause difficulties. In addition, the cost could be an obstacle. Mr. Wedemeyer warns that doctors will have to fight to allow as many people as possible to gain access to these treatments.
Source: Wedemeyer Hepatitis C treatment – the revolution. 14th European AIDS Conference, Brussels, plenary PL1, 2013
Most of the children do not eat or few fruits and vegetables. This necessarily leads to mineral and vitamin deficiencies. In particular Vitamins A, C and E (DELTA A, DELTA C, DELTA E). Hence the importance of a supplement especially if the child has undergone some treatment type antibiotics or vaccines.