New Oral Drugs Show Promise as Hepatitis C Cure

New Oral Drugs Show Promise as Hepatitis C Cure
Professor Michael P. Manns

A pair of highly promising drug study results are scheduled to be presented during the 22nd United European Gastroenterology Week (UEG Week 2014), which began in Vienna, Austria on Saturday, October 18. The conference will run until Wednesday, October 22. These oral medications are indicated for the treatment of a particularly challenging hepatitis C genotype, which to this point can only be cured by a year-long administration of injectables of a combination of potent drugs that cause a number of untoward side effects.

It is estimated that HCV infections affect over 180 million people worldwide, with the hardest-to-treat form, HCV genotype 1, comprising most diagnoses made in Europe. Professor Michael P. Manns from Hannover Medical School in Germany is at the UEG Week 2014 to present the findings of administering NS3 protease inhibitor twice-daily plus once-daily NS5A replication complex inhibitor, and administering a second generation NS3/4A protease inhibitor once-daily plus a NS5B polymerase inhibitor once-daily with or without ribavirin. According to Dr. Mann, pushing for the development and approval of these potentially effective, milder oral medications may encourage more patients to get treated and help in the worldwide goal to eradicate HCV.

The HALLMARK-DUAL study involved the participation of 645 HCV patients known to have genotype 1b. After receiving the experimental drug consisting of the NS3 protease inhibitor and the NS5A replication complex inhibitor for 24 weeks, the participants were noted to have a sustained virological response (SVR) — a plausible sign of a cure. This was noted in 90% of patients who have never received any form of treatment and in 82% of those who were unsuccessful with previous treatments.

The COSMOS study involved 167 patients with HCV genotype 1a and 1b who received the NS3/4A protease inhibitor with Ns5B polymerase inhibitor. After the course of treatment, 93% of the participants exhibited SVR. Both combinations were well-tolerated and may soon replace today’s traditional interferon- and ribavirin-based formulations.

Hepatitis C infection therapy options continue to improve. This year alone, the approval of Sovaldi as the first truly viable Hepatitis C “sure” has give hope to people throughout the world. Now, the work being done in the lab by Dr. Manns and colleagues could lead to future therapies that are easier to take and remain compliant with.

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