A new study contradicts current guidelines that stipulate that African Americans who qualify for a shortened eight-week course of Harvoni (ledipasvir/sofosbuvir) treatment for hepatitis C virus (HCV) should nevertheless receive 12 weeks, reports MedPage Today.

According to an observational study of a real-world cohort, Blacks who otherwise met the guidelines of the American Association of the Study of Liver Diseases and of the Infectious Diseases Society of America for taking eight weeks of the regimen had a cure rate comparable to their peers who were treated for 12 weeks.

Publishing their findings in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, researchers analyzed data from 2,653 individuals receiving Harvoni treatment between 2014 and 2016 through the Kaiser Permanente Northern California health care system. Everyone met the qualifications for an eight-week Harvoni course: They had not been treated for HCV before, did not have cirrhosis, were not coinfected with HIV and had a hep C viral load below 6 million.

The cohort was 57.9 percent white, 17.3 percent Black, 42.5 percent female and 50.8 percent were age 60 or older.

A total of 1,953 cohort members (73.8 percent) took the treatment for eight weeks while 695 (26.2 percent) were treated for 12 weeks. In this overall group, 96.3 percent of each of the two groups achieved a sustained virologic response 12 weeks after completing therapy (SVR12, considered a cure).

Among the 435 Black cohort members, 315 (72.4 percent) were treated for eight weeks and 120 (27.5 percent) were treated for 12 weeks. The two groups had respective cure rates of 95.6 percent and 95.8 percent.

To read the MedPage Today article, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.