Hepatitis 'C' Cures Now Common
Existing Treatments Eradicate Hepatitis C Virus
WebMD News Archive
Not All Respond continued...
He adds that roughly 70% of infected Americans have genotype 1, a genetic
type of the disease that tends to be less responsive to treatment than other
Bruce Bacon, MD, of St. Louis University, tells WebMD that specialists know
much more now than they did a few years ago about individualizing interferon
Patients who respond very quickly may not need to be treated for as long,
while those who respond slowly may need a longer course of treatment -- as long
as 1.5 years for very slow responders.
Bacon, who directs the division of hepatology at Saint Louis University
School of Medicine, says many patients -- and even their primary care
physicians -- still do not understand that HCV infection can be cured.
“The overwhelming perception is that this is a disease that can be
controlled, but not cured,” he says. “That is why infected people are often
hesitant to even consider treatment.”
Better Treatments to Come
The message, the experts agree, is that a cure is possible, even for people
who already have liver damage and for those with conditions like HIV
They also agree that highly anticipated new treatments could improve cure
rates in the years to come.
Phase II trials of highly specific drugs that target HCV are now under way,
and Bacon says they could be approved within two to three years.
Vierling says he has high hopes that a multidrug approach to HCV treatment,
similar to the approach that has turned HIV from a uniformly deadly to largely
manageable disease, can improve treatment outcomes for a larger number of
“New drugs may allow us to use existing treatments at lower doses or for
shorter periods,” he says. “The future looks bright.”