Novel treatment and treatment stratagies for Hepatitis C infection is something I have written about on ERV a couple of times before:
To briefly summarize, Hepatitis C sucks. It has infected lots of people. It kills lots of people. And we have extremely limited treatment options for infected patients. We basically have two drugs, and they make you feel like shit, literally, for the 6-12 month treatment course. To operationally define “shit”– Its like having the flu for 6-12 months, with the added bonus of ‘emotional disturbances’, ie, you go nuts.
This means that only ~half of the people infected with Hepatitis C can even successfully complete the treatment course of the only two drugs we have to help them. Of the people infected with the ‘worst’ Hepatitis, Type 1, only ~50% of them are cured of the infection.
So, for a simplified illustration, of 100 people infected with HepC Type 1– 50 can tolerate the drugs. 25 are ‘cured’. 75 are still sick.
What can we do to help those people? What can we do to make treatment easier and tolerable for all 100 people? What can we do to up that viral clearance rate?
There is some recent data, small group of folks, that gives us hope that the treatment process for HepC Type 1 could get a *lot* easier:
They took 21 patients who had failed primary therapy. They gave them two oral drugs (vs interferon, which must be administered IV) Daclatasvir and Asunaprevir. Those names might look cryptic, but readers of ERV shouldnt be intimidated– Asunaprevir is a protease inhibitor and Daclatasvir is a ‘replication complex inhibitor’, that is it screws up the viruses ability to replicate its genome.
Of the 11 patients that only received the two oral drugs, 5 cleared the virus. Of the 10 who got the two oral drugs PLUS the two standard drugs again, 9 cleared the virus.
Again, this is still very, very preliminary– I mean, 10 patients, for Petes sake. But of the 10 that got quad-drug therapy, 9 were cured!
I really hope this pans out.
But, just to be Debbie Downer here– even if this therapy does work out, its success will be fleeting. Those patients that were not cured? They were populated with HepC that was resistant to the drugs.
*shakes fist angrily* EVILUTION!!!!!!!