All-Oral Hepatitis C Treatment in Trial

FEBRUARY 20, 2012
Could treatment for hepatitis C viral infection become an all-oral supplement?

Researchers directed under Christophe Hézode, a researcher in the department of hepatology and gastroenterology at the Université Paris-Est, sought to find out if they could create an oral combination therapy that could become an HCV treatment without injections. Hepatitis Foundation International describes the current treatment as consisting of 3 types of interferon, which must be given by injection, plus a combination of interferon and Ribavirin to treat HCV. Many pharmaceutical companies and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have been conducting research for more effective treatments and cures.

The objective of the double blind trial, first published in the Journal of Hepatology, was to observe a new treatment regimen for chronic HCV that could yield new information towards more successful ways to treat the virus. The 88 patients from New Zealand and Australia who were chronically infected with HCV genotype 1 were randomized into groups and given up to 13 days of oral combination treatment with 2 experimental anti-HCV drugs, RG7128 and danoprevir, or placebo. The primary outcome was HCV RNA concentration from beginning to day 14 in patients who received all 13 days of treatment. The median changed in HCV RNA ranged from -3.2 to -5.2 log(10) IU/ml in this group of patients. Researchers found that the oral combination of RG7128 and danoprevir was well tolerated with no treatment related serious or severe adverse events.

The trial concluded that this oral combination of nucleoside polymerase inhibitor and protease inhibitor hold promising outcomes for an all-oral combination therapy for chronic HCV. Future trials will need to be conducted to test the safety and effectiveness of interferon (IFN) free therapies.

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