The evolution of hepatitis C virus therapies

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09/04/2021

The evolution of hepatitis C virus therapies

Dr Franco has presented in the online seminars of the College of Biologists of Catalonia new very effective treatments against hepatitis C, designed against three proteins essential for the replication of the virus

The College of Biologists of Catalonia offered a serminar carried out by Dr. Sandra Franco, post-doctoral researcher in the Genetic and Phenotypic Variability of HIV and HCV group at IrsiCaixa. It took place online, on March 17 at 17h. and talked about the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV).

According to WHO, 1% of the world’s population is chronically infected with hepatitis C (VHC) virus. Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent the virus and only 20% of infected individuals resolve the disease without treatment. Chronic hepatitis C persists for decades and is one of the main causes of liver transplantation in developed countries. On the other hand, the high mutation capacity of the virus allow it to fight the immune system and escape from drugs, difficulting its elimination.

Hepatitis C and lack of treatment pose a global problem and that's why Sandra Franco has exposed the direct-acting antiviral (AAD) therapies, a new highly effective treatment that target three essential proteins for virus replication, called NS3, NS5A and NS5B. The therapy has achieved a cure of 95 to 100% and has reduced the treatment duration to a maximum of 8 to 12 weeks, as opposed to conventional interferon-based therapy, where the cure rates were much lower (50%) and the treatment had was longer (24–48 weeks). “These new therapies are a big step to combat the hepatitis C virus. Before these advances, the Interferon therapies had many adverse effects and therefore were not very effective in curing the disease”, explains Sandra Franco. With these new oral treatments of highly tolerated and with fewer adverse effects, the community aims to be eradicate VHC as a serious public health problem by 2030.

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