OHSU-led evidence review underlines new effective therapy for Hepatitis C

Team of researchers at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) have shed light on new direct-acting antiviral therapies and its potential effectiveness in eliminating Hepatitis C virus infection.

The latest review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has recommended the U.S. Preventive Health Task Force for universal screening of Hepatitis C. Previously the screening was applicable to people between 1945 and 1965, along with risk factors such as injection drug use.

The latest findings draw attention to the new direct-acting antiviral therapies which effectively target virus with only few side effects. These are in contrast with the previous review from 2013.

Experts determine Hepatitis C is the most common blood-borne virus in the United States with 2.4 million people affected by it. If untreated, Hepatitis C can further cause complications such as liver cancer and liver failure.

Previously the direct-acting antiviral therapies were used by combining injections of interferon. Reports suggest interferons increase the body’s overall immune response and suppress the virus. It was however observed that the year-long treatment resulted into flu-like side effects.

The review of 2013 underlines the initial introduction of first-direct acting antiviral medications. Furthermore, the combination with interferon, the first-generation antiviral drugs were determined to be 68% and 78% effective in driving the virus to undetectable levels in the blood following treatment.

Based on the latest findings of the review, new all-direct-acting antiviral regimens without interferon were found to be 95% more effective in eliminating the virus even among young people.

Sources suggest the review covered eight randomized controlled trials which compared direct-acting antiviral therapies with placebo or with outdated antiviral regimen. This included a study of 48 treatment studies and 33 cohort studies and had 180,000 patients.