When I contracted hepatitis C, the virus didn’t have a name, let alone a treatment. When hepatitis C treatment finally began, it was difficult and rarely worked. In time it evolved, to where it is today, curable around 90% of the time. Treatments are shorter and easier to tolerate. Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) and Olysio are the newest medications in use, and although peginterferon and/or ribavirin are sometimes still used, we are moving out of the dark ages.
The biggest leap ahead for hepatitis C patients will come in October when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to approve a once-daily pill combining ledipasvir and sofosbuvir (Sovaldi) to treat adults with genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C infection. In clinical trials (ION studies) of approximately 2,000 patients, the cure rates were around 94% and up for 8 to 12 weeks of treatment with ledipasvir and sofosbuvir. Patients reported mild side effects using ledipasvir and sofosbuvir; fatigue and headache were the most common adverse events.
Researchers aren’t stopping there. With nearly 130-170 million people in the world with hepatitis C, we need better drugs. In the coming years, we will see dramatic improvements, with shorter treatment lengths and nearly 100% response rates. I have seen research that eradicates hepatitis C in as little as six weeks.
Dare we hope to cure hepatitis C with a medication that works with just one dose? Benitec is working on just that. Using a technology known as gene-silencing, the research is in early, but promising stages. The prospect is so amazing to me, that is seems like fantasy. However, at this point we have seen miracles happen regarding hepatitis C, so why not expect more?. The fact that I am cured is a miracle to me. So, a cure with a single-dose application isn’t really that far-fetched.
Now if we could just cure the common cold...