Hepatits C, the dangerously transmittable disease prevalent in Africa and Asia, may have just met its match.
A new study published at The International Liver Congress in Barcelona, Spain presented the results of a 6-week treatment program involving 20 patients using a 2 drug combination, which was approved for use by the FDA two years ago: sofosbuvir and ledipasvir in pill form.
After a 12-week follow-up, 95% of the patients had zero traces of HCV in their systems.
Since acute hepatitis C rarely reveals early symptoms, the disease has been spread to as many as 200 million people worldwide, whether from sexual contact or shared needles. Lack of treatment can consequently lead to serious liverdisease and damage.
“These exciting findings open up short and cost-effective treatment options that could prevent the spread of HCV in high risk populations,” said Professor Frank Tacke, a Governing Board member of European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL). “We look forward to seeing this pilot study extended so the findings can be validated and then hopefully used as a tool to change clinical practice for the better.”
Researchers plan on continuing their study with larger numbers of subjects in order to gauge the possibility of a future vaccine that will be able to treat HCV.
“Our research demonstrates that not only is the combination of sofosbuvir and ledipasvir safe, well tolerated and effective in patients with acute HCV genotype 1 who have severe liver disease with very high liver enzymes, but a shorter treatment duration does not appear to hinder efficacy,” said Heiner Wedemeyer, professor at Hannover Medical School, according to the report.
As this treatment can be quite costly, patients may want to look into more holistic medicine practices and doctors who have recommended high doses of Vitamin C to treat this virus.