Treatment of Hepatitis C

Abstract

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a prime example of the speed at which modern medical science has evolved. Within 30 years of its discovery, this virus now has highly effective treatments with response rates up to 100%. HCV infection affects 3% of the world's population and can lead to severe sequelae. Chronic infection may progress to cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma and death. Successful clearance of HCV prevents and may reverse such complications.

The discovery of specific drug targets for HCV has revolutionised treatment using direct‐acting antivirals (DAAs). DAAs are potent and safe, allowing individuals who were unable to tolerate interferon treatment, to be cured.

The WHO has targeted elimination of HCV by 2030. HCV treatment is triumphant with remarkable new drug developments, but at the same time, still a work in progress.

Key Concepts

  • Hepatitis C treatment has evolved in many areas from imaging to treatment.
  • DAAs have improved treatment for patients by increasing SVR and tolerability.
  • Eradication of HCV is now feasible, though barriers remain.
  • HCV is a blood borne virus.
  • Breakthroughs in basic science have been translated into real advances in patient care.

Keywords: hepatitis C; direct acting antivirals; DAA; HCV; cirrhosis; translational science; blood borne virus

Figure 1. Schematic of the structure of HCV and its therapeutic targets.
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Further Reading

Bain VG and Tandon P (2001) Hepatitis as a World Health Problem (eLS). John Wiley & Sons, Ltd: Chichester.

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Mecci, Ali Jibran, and Cheung, Michelle(Jul 2017) Treatment of Hepatitis C. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0024786]