A novel antiviral drug is found to increase the effectiveness of hepatitis C treatment and improve the cure rate in severe patients, a study has revealed.
Paul Kwo of Indiana University School of Medicine reported that the drug nearly doubled the treatment's effectiveness when given for 48 weeks.
Hepatitis C infections occur mainly through transmission of infected blood, such as via injection drug use, and there is no vaccine. It is a leading cause of liver cancer and liver transplantation.
These patients tested negative for evidence of the virus six months after the end of treatment.
"Based on this phase 2 study, it appears that if this drug receives final approval approximately two-thirds of patients will be able to be treated successfully with 28 weeks of treatment and one-third will need 48 weeks of treatment, though this will require confirmation from the phase 3 trials, from which preliminary results were recently released," said Kwo.
The study is published Monday in the online edition of the journal The Lancet.